"You’re a coward who has cruelly taken away my dad."
Tahir Zarif has received a life sentence for the murder of a businessman, seven years after the killing.
He shot dead Akhtar Javeed at his Direct Source 3 warehouse in Digbeth on February 3, 2016, as he and several other men tried to stage a £100,000 heist.
Zarif tied the hands of the businessman and fired three warning shots, one of which hit the victim’s leg.
But Mr Javeed refused his demands to open the safe, managed to free himself and pushed past Zarif in a bid to escape.
Zarif fired two more shots, hitting Mr Javeed.
The businessman managed to escape before stumbling across the car park to the pavement where he collapsed and died in a pool of his own blood.
Zarif fled to Pakistan and remained on the run for two years before being detained in 2018. He was extradited back to the UK in 2020.
The 32-year-old admitted conspiracy to rob and two counts of possessing a firearm with intent to cause fear of violence. He was found guilty of murder following a trial.
Speaking directly to Zarif, the victim’s son said:
“You’re a coward who has cruelly taken away my dad.
“My father was kind and genuine, all he thought about was caring and proving for his family, never about himself.
“I hope a day doesn’t go by that you don’t feel guilty about what you’ve done.”
Judge Nigel Godsmark told Zarif: “On any account, your actions were ruthless, greedy and without thought for anyone else.”
He said Zarif had a “clear willingness to use the gun” he was carrying, adding the three warning shots would have been “terrifying” for Mr Javeed.
Judge Godsmark also concluded that Zarif had an “intention to kill” when he fired the fatal shots and his actions were not affected by the numerous mental health issues put forward as part of his defence.
He acknowledged his long sentence would be “depressing if not overwhelming” but asked:
“What about the impact on the Javeed family? What about the sentence you imposed on them?
“We have heard their agonised statements.
“A loving, family man torn away from them on a day he had gone in on a normal day’s work. A widow still mourns him, children devastated, a family who were unable to attend his body in the manner their faith requires. Grandchildren who will never know him.
“The effect ripples down the generations. Seven years on the loss of Akhtar Javeed is still so acutely and intensely felt.”
The court heard that the botched robbery had “disturbing parallels” to one Zahir had committed previously where he raided a bookmakers and held a knife up to a woman’s throat, demanding that she open the safe.
In defence, Abbas Lakha said the Digbeth incident was “planned as a robbery, not a pre-meditated plan to kill”.
He said his client had shown “genuine remorse” and cited his mental health issues.
Zarif was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years.