Family of East Ham businessman in plea to find alleged fugitive killer
- Credit: PA
The family of an East Ham businessman who was shot dead during a warehouse raid have urged anyone harbouring his alleged killer to turn him in.
Tahir Zarif - who prosecutors claim shot Akhtar Javeed in the legs, throat and mouth - is at the centre of an international manhunt after flying to Pakistan following the February killing.
After three other men were convicted of conspiracy to commit robbery, one of whom was also convicted of father-of-four Mr Javeed’s manslaughter, detectives said Zarif, 25, was thought to have passed through Heathrow Airport with his mother five days after the killing.
Detective Chief Inspector Martin Slevin, of West Midlands Police, said: “The offenders planned this offence over a number of weeks and days - they brought firearms to the offence location, one fitted with a silencer.
“They brought cable ties with which to incapacitate all of the staff, and this was only made possible by the information provided by an inside man.”
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The officer added: “We would urge anybody who has information where Tahir Zarif is currently living or being harboured to contact West Midlands Police, or Crimestoppers in confidence.
“If you’re overseas, contact your embassy and pass that information on, so that we can attempt to bring him back to the UK to face trial for this offence.”
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Mr Javeed’s daughter, Lilas Javeed, backed Mr Slevin’s plea for information about Zarif.
The 30-year-old counsellor, who lives in Ilford, said that there was “no real closure” for the family.
“There has been three people brought to justice,” she said.
“It’s three less criminals roaming the streets but of course it’s very important for us that the other person is brought back.
“I have faith that the relevant authorities will work together to bring him back and face trial so that we can get justice.”
Ms Javeed also paid tribute to a “loving, kind, generous and above all selfless man”.
Speaking on behalf of her family, she said: “Words cannot describe the pain we are suffering as a family. I speak on behalf of all that knew him; he was a loving, kind, generous and above all selfless man. He worked tirelessly all his life to make sure he could provide for his family.
“He was a simple man with no concern for the materialistic comforts of this world, for his greatest treasure was the happiness and wellbeing of his loved ones. Every birthday, every occasion which we once would have celebrated with great jest is now a painful reminder that the man that once was the life and soul of every party is no longer with us.”
She added: “The verdict does not change how we feel or any aspect of our life. No remorse has been shown by the perpetrators. Their sentence will be nothing close to the sentence we are living through.”
During the six week trial, Birmingham Crown Court was told 56-year-old Mr Javeed, of Central Park Road, was killed after being asked to take a masked gunman to a safe.
Zarif’s business partner Suraj Mistry was acquitted of murder but convicted of manslaughter, conspiracy to commit robbery and possession of firearms with intent to cause fear of violence.
Jurors cleared a second defendant, Lemar Wali, of murder, manslaughter and firearms charges but convicted him of conspiracy to rob.
The court was told Mistry, 26, of Laundon Way, Leicester, took part in the raid along with Zarif, of Osmaston Park Road, Derby, after both men were driven to the scene by Wali.
Wali, 19, also of Osmaston Park Road, told the trial he took Mistry and Zarif to the warehouse in Rea Street South but did not know they were armed.
The raid was launched after sacked delivery driver Sander Van Aalten, 50, provided inside knowledge to the gang, including a plan of the warehouse drawn on the back of a water bill.
Van Aalten, of Kyrwicks Lane, Birmingham, admitted conspiracy to rob before the start of the trial.
Mistry, Wali and Van Aalten are due to be sentenced on Tuesday, September 27.