Monday, March 28, 2016

Uber minicab seized in probe into 'religiously prejudiced death' of Scottish shopkeeper.

The Uber-branded cab is seized from within the police cordon in Glasgow

A Bradford-registered cab has been seized by police investigating the death of Glasgow shopkeeper Asad Shah - who was stabbed after wishing friends a "very happy Easter".

The grey Volkswagen Passat mini-cab with Uber branding in the windscreen was parked opposite "man of peace" Mr Shah's shop in Glasgow, where he was killed just four hours after posting his Easter message to "my beloved Christian nation".

The vehicle - a private hire vehicle registered with Bradford Council, 200 miles from Glasgow - was within the police cordon set up at the crime scene and was removed by police forensic officers wearing white protective suits.

The forensic officers slowly drove a recovery truck into the cordon and winched the private hire saloon cab onto the back of it before driving away.

It's believed the vehicle, which is feared to have transported Mr Shah's killer to the scene, is now undergoing forensic testing.

The vehicle seizure happened at 2.30pm on Friday afternoon outside Mr Shah's shop on Minard Road in the Shawlands area of Glasgow but has only just come to light.

News of the seizure comes just hours after reports that Mr Shah's alleged killer had travelled to Scotland from Bradford. The suspect is understood to be from the Girlington area of the city.

An Uber spokesman said today that the car was registered to a private hire cab driver in Bradford who last used the Uber app on Monday, March 21.

The spokesman said the car had not been used for any Uber trips in Glasgow and said any driver given a private hire licence by Bradford City Council had to pass enhanced DBS disclosure tests.

Police Scotland today refused to comment on the seizure of the vehicle.

A West Yorkshire police spokesman said: “It is a Police Scotland investigation but they have been liaising with senior officers in Bradford about the community impact.”

Meanwhile a crowdfunding site set up to raise money for Mr Shah's family has reached £70,000 thanks to donations from across Britain and further afield.

Police said on Friday that Mr Shah's death was being treated as "religiously prejudiced".

Mr Shah was a member of the Ahmadiyya sect of Islam which preaches peace and tolerance towards other religions. 

Speaking today, Dr Mohammed Iqbal, President of the Ahmadiyya Muslim Community in Bradford, said: "I feel very sad for the victim and his family, for our Ahmadiyya community because we know we face these dangers and for Bradford.

"It is a tragedy not just for those directly involved but also for the wider community because it will bring negativity to Bradford which we don’t want."

Dr Bary Malik, also from the Ahmadiyya Muslim Association in Bradford, said sympathies had been sent to Mr Shah’s family.

He said he was a friend of the victim and had got to know him from time spent in Rabwah in Pakistan, where the shopkeeper had been born.

He said: “I know the man and his family. He was very well-known. Of course we have sent our sympathies from here in Bradford."

He said it was "sad" that such an incident had happened and added that the fact the death was being treated as religiously motivated made it "even more tragic."

He said: "We hope that justice will be done soon.”

Police have arrested a 32-year-old Muslim man belonging to the Sunni sect over the death. The man will appear in court in Glasgow tomorrow (Tuesday).

Just hours before he died, popular Mr Shah had taken to Facebook to say: "Good Friday and a very Happy Easter, especially to my beloved Christian nation."

And he added: "Let's follow the real footstep of beloved holy Jesus Christ and get the real success in both worlds."

In previous posts, he spoke out against violence and hatred and called for "unconditional real love for all mankind".

Mr Shah's family revealed today that they now fear for their lives following his death, which has caused widespread anger and grief.

Naz Shah, Labour MP for Bradford West, said: “Hatred is hatred, and there is no room for people who expect tolerance and respect for their religion but do not think they should give it to others.

“I am absolutely appalled, I have spoken to the Council of Mosques and will be speaking to other people about it, and I will be putting out further statements.

“I had heard rumours the man was from Bradford but I had no idea he was from my constituency."