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UPDATED WITH SENTENCE: Man convicted of murdering PC Sharon Beshenivsky in Bradford in 2005

|News, Violent crime

Piran Ditta Khan has today (10 May 2024) been sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum of 40 years. 

David Holderness, Specialist Prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service, said: "The sentencing of Piran Ditta Khan brings an 18-year-old case to its just end.

"Khan's fateful decision to execute an armed robbery and purchase deadly firearms is the reason PC Sharon Beshenivksy is not alive today.

"Even though he did not fire the fatal shot, his actions stole from Sharon and those who knew her a lifetime together, and as he is sentenced today our thoughts remain with her family and loved ones.

"This was a complex investigation and prosecution, and I would like to thank West Yorkshire Police, the National Crime Agency, the authorities in Pakistan and our colleagues in the Crown Prosecution Service's International Unit - it was only because of this cross-agency working that we were able to secure a conviction against Khan."

This press release was originally published on 4 April 2024. 

A man who had been wanted for the murder of a Bradford Police Officer since 2006 has been convicted of her murder.

Image of PC Sharon Beshenivsky
PC Sharon Beshenivsky

Today (4 April 2024) Piran Ditta Khan, 75, was found guilty by a jury at Leeds Crown Court of murder and firearms offences. He pleaded guilty to robbery at an earlier hearing. 

On 18 November 2005 PC Sharon Beshenivsky and PC Teresa Milburn were about to finish their shift when a call came over the radio about an alarm at the Travel Agents Universal Express on Morley Street. 

They accepted the call and arrived at Morley Street at approximately 3.30 that afternoon.  As they approached the entrance to the travel agents, three men burst out of the business shooting PC Beshenivsky at close range, PC Milburn was also shot. 

PC Beshenivsky died from a gunshot wound to the chest, PC Milburn was taken to hospital where she later recovered from her injuries. 

A manhunt for the suspects was launched. This led to the arrest and conviction of six people.

The final suspect and mastermind of the robbery, Piran Ditta Khan, fled the country to Pakistan. 

Custody photo of Piran Ditta Khan
Custody photo of Piran Ditta Khan

An extradition request was made shortly afterwards by the CPS’s International team. He remained at large until he was tracked down by the National Crime Agency and Pakistani law enforcement and arrested in January 2020.

Despite there not being an extradition treaty with Pakistan, the CPS, working closely with the National Crime Agency, the CPS Liaison Prosecutor in Pakistan, and the Pakistani authorities, were able to secure the approval of Khan’s removal in March 2023.

Khan was extradited to the UK on 12 April 2023 where officers from West Yorkshire Police arrested him, and he was formally charged with murder, firearms offences, and robbery. 

Left image: gun used in the robbery. Right Image: safe from the robbery
Left image: gun used in the robbery. Right image: safe inside the Travel Agents Universal Express

David Holderness, Specialist Prosecutor for CPS Yorkshire & Humberside, said: “Our thoughts are of PC Sharon Beshenivsky who was murdered in the line of duty, and with her loved ones whose lives were forever changed by the actions of Piran Ditta Khan and others on that fatal day.

“Piran Ditta Khan was the architect of the operation and meticulously planned the robbery that was to be carried out using firearms which, if they thought necessary, could be used to kill.

“Despite not firing the fatal shot, he is as guilty of Sharon’s murder as the man who pulled the trigger.

“This was a complex investigation and prosecution, spanning 18 years and requiring multiple agencies to work closely together. 

“I would like to thank West Yorkshire Police, the National Crime Agency, the Pakistani authorities, and colleagues in our International Unit who helped extradite Khan so we could deliver justice for Sharon and her family.”

Speaking outside court today Senior Investigating Officer Detective Superintendent Marc Bowes of West Yorkshire Police said: “Today as always, our thoughts remain with PC Sharon Beshenivsky and her family, Sharon went to work to protect the public, she responded to a call for help alongside her colleague Teresa but tragically never came home. 

“This verdict today is the culmination of 18 years of hard work, tenacious grit and determination to bring Khan before the courts. 

“Throughout this investigation we left no stone unturned and after several trials and convictions the final suspect khan has been found guilty of these heinous crimes. 

“This has been a complex case with many hurdles along the way but throughout all the challenges we never gave up. 

“This truly was a team effort, and we would not be here today without the help from the National Crime Agency, the CPS, the Home office, The Pakistani Authorities and other forces who have helped over the years in this investigation.

“I would like to extend my deepest sympathies to Sharon’s family, to Teresa, and all who were affected by the events of that day. 

“Today marks the end of the trial and of an ordeal which began some 18 years ago I would like to praise Sharon’s family for their bravery throughout. We will always remember the ultimate sacrifice made by PC Sharon Beshenivsky in the line of duty.”

Tom Dowdall, Deputy Director International at the National Crime Agency, said: “NCA officers, both here in the UK and across the world, worked tirelessly alongside West Yorkshire Police, the CPS and our law enforcement partners in Pakistan to identify Khan’s location, culminating in his arrest in 2020 and extradition last year.

“This verdict would not have been possible without the dedicated work of our partners in Pakistan.

“This was a complex and devastating case, and today our thoughts are with Sharon’s family and Teresa, who have shown immense strength over 18 years.

“Piran Ditta Khan not only masterminded a robbery that led to the tragic murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky and attack on PC Teresa Milburn, but he then fled the country to avoid the consequences of his actions.

“Anyone who leaves the UK to avoid facing justice for crimes they have committed should know that we will leave no stone unturned to locate you, bring you back to the UK and put you before the courts.”

Notes to editors

  • Piran Ditta Khan was convicted of the following offences:
    • Ct 1 – Murder
    • Ct 2 – Robbery (Guilty plea)
    • Ct 3 – Possess firearm with intent
    • Ct 4 – Possess firearm with intent
    • Ct 5 – Possess prohibited weapon
    • Ct 6 – Possess prohibited weapon

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