Life jail for Upton Park gunman

A man who fired a sawn-off shotgun in a restaurant blasting his victim in the face has been jailed for life.

Aktar Miah, 25, of Queens Road, Upton Park, who was found guilty of attempted murder earlier this month, was told he must serve a minimum of 12 years before being considered for parole.

Judge Richard Foster told him: “Because of some disagreement, you armed yourself with a loaded sawn-off shotgun. It is clear you had ready access to weapons and that you are no stranger to violence.”

He added: “You were the cool guy in town, driving around in your dark-coloured BMW and you easily influenced others.

“I am satisfied you went into that restaurant with the intention to kill, otherwise why would the gun have been loaded? It is exceptionally fortunate that your victim was not killed.”

Two teenagers who were with Miah during the attack on November 23 last year were each given three years’ youth custody. They were found guilty of possessing a shotgun with intent to cause fear of violence.

Judge Foster told them: “You were clearly led into this, but there is an abhorrence of carrying illegal firearms.”

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During a trial at Luton Crown Court, the jury heard the target of the shooting was car dealer Mazhar Iqbal, who was at the Royal Peri Peri restaurant in Bedford that night.

They saw the dramatic moment captured on the restaurant’s CCTV system when Mr Miah came through the front doors in the early hours and fired at his victim.

The shooting followed an earlier incident at the restaurant.

The court had been told that Miah, 18-year-old Fahim Khan and a 17-year-old youth, who can’t be named, had been at the restaurant and were involved in an argument with the victim.

A fight is said to have broken out, with Mr Iqbal hitting the 17-year-old.

As a result, the court heard the three left but returned shortly afterwards bringing with them a sawn-off shotgun that Miah may have brought with him from London. He claimed he thought it was an imitation weapon.

In his defence, Miah claimed he knew the 17-year-old had been having some trouble in the town and said his only intention was to frighten the man, but the weapon went off by accident.

The victim still has pellets in his face. An expert said one narrowly missed his eye which could have resulted in death.

Ian McLoughlin, defending Miah, said: “The injury caused was mercifully relatively minor.

“He wishes to apologise to the victim and expresses his genuine remorse for that night.

“He made a series of terrible decisions that culminated in this reckless act. His family are appalled at what he has done.”

Miah, Khan, of Bedford, and the 17-year-old all denied attempted murder.

Miah was convicted by a majority verdict and the two teenagers were cleared. They were also found not guilty of the less serious alternative charge of wounding with intent, which they had denied.

All three denied jointly possessing a shotgun with intent to endanger life. Miah was found guilty and the others not guilty.

But Khan and the 17-year-old were found guilty of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence.