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The Guardian - UK
The Guardian - UK
Geneva Abdul

Man charged with murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky appears in court

Sharon Beshenivsky
Sharon Beshenivsky was shot dead after arriving at the scene of a robbery at a travel agency in Bradford, West Yorkshire, on 18 November 2005. Photograph: West Yorkshire Police/PA

A 74-year-old man accused of murdering PC Sharon Beshenivsky has appeared in court more than 17 years after the officer was shot dead during an armed raid at a travel agency in Bradford.

Piran Ditta Khan appeared at Westminster magistrates court in London on Thursday, after being extradited from Pakistan two days earlier and taken into custody at a West Yorkshire police station, where he was charged with murdering the officer.

Khan also faces charges of robbery, two counts of possession of a firearm with intent to endanger life and two counts of possession of a prohibited weapon. He was not asked to enter a plea to any of the alleged offences and spoke only to confirm his name, date of birth and to tell the court he was having some trouble hearing.

No bail application was made and the district judge John Zani remanded Khan back into custody before he appears at the Old Bailey on Monday.

The judge told him: “All the allegations that you face are to be dealt with at a higher court, the crown court, so I am transferring this case to the central criminal court in London and you will appear there on Monday.”

The chief crown prosecutor, Joanne Jakymec, said on Wednesday: “Since Piran Ditta Khan was arrested in Pakistan in 2020, our specialist prosecutors have been working closely with our Pakistani partners to complete the legal process in the country so that he could be extradited back to England to face the allegations from almost 20 years ago.”

Piran Ditta Khan wears handcuffs with a chain held by a police officer behind him
Pakistani police officers escort Piran Ditta Khan in Islamabad in January, before his extradition to the UK. Photograph: Anjum Naveed/AP

Khan was arrested in Pakistan in January 2020 after efforts over several years by West Yorkshire police to trace him. In 2006, charges were authorised, leading to the issuing of the extradition warrant, and in 2009 police offered a reward of £20,000 for information leading to Khan’s arrest.

Beshenivsky had been an officer for nine months when she and her colleague PC Teresa Milburn arrived at the scene of a robbery on 18 November 2005 at Universal Travel in Bradford, West Yorkshire.

Beshenivsky, who was 38 years old, was shot in the chest. PC Milburn was also shot and left seriously injured by the incident, as the robbers escaped with a little more than £5,000.

Beshenivsky was the first female police officer to have been shot and killed on duty since Yvonne Fletcher outside the Libyan embassy in London on 17 April 1984.

In 2007, a 26-year-old man was convicted of killing Beshenivsky and jailed for 20 years. Three other men had previously been sentenced to a total of more than 80 years in prison over the robbery.

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