Victim’s son calls smiling killer ‘coward’ in emotional court outburst

Tahir Zarif brought back to UK to face justice for 2016 shooting

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A heartbroken son called his dad’s killer a “coward” to his face while in court.

Murderer Tahir Zarif sat in the dock motionless as he listened to the powerful statements from Akhtar Javeed’s family.

The 32-year-old finally faced justice having fled to Pakistan after shooting and killing the 56-year-old father-of-four during a bungled raid in 2016.

Three other men have since been jailed for 40 years for their part in the Direct Source 3 warehouse robbery on Rea Street in Digbeth, Birmingham, while Zarif was finally detained in Mirpur in 2018 and extradited back to the UK two years later—and was pictured smiling on his return flight with cops.

Yesterday, Thursday, he was sentenced to life with a minimum term of 30 years having been convicted of murder after a trial, reports Birmingham Live.

Sofiane, one of Mr Javeed’s four children, took to the witness box to address Zarif directly.

He said: “It’s been almost seven years since you took my father away by killing him.

“Throughout that period of time, I have thought long and hard about what I wanted to say to you when the time came.

“Many of the things I want to say to you I can’t out of respect for this court and the people sat here.

“What I can say is that you are a coward. You have cruelly taken away a 56-year-old man. You have cruelly taken away my dad.”

He then told the court about the secret surprise he had been planning for his father, but never got to carry out.

Sofiane said: “In December 2015 while you were planning the whole robbery I was accepted to become a police officer for the Metropolitan Police.

“My grandfather had been in the police and my father dreamed of being in the police but because his English wasn’t the best he wasn’t able to. In 2015 I achieved his dream.

“I kept it a secret because I wanted to surprise him and make him proud.

“In my early teens, I wasn’t always well-behaved. Now by going into the police I could prove I had turned my life around for the better.

“I wanted to wait until I got the inform and invite him to my passing out parade to see me in uniform.

“I was never able to fulfil this dream of mine because you killed him before.”

Similarly, he stated his father had missed him getting married and having a son of his own.

Expressing further heartache Sofiane recalled having a “petty argument” with his dad before his death.

He said: “As he left he sent me a message saying ‘I love you my son’. I ignored this message.

“This decision I have to live with every day. I didn’t know he was going to be taken away.

“I wish I could turn back time to reply to him and tell him how much I love him.

“I never got to tell my dad how much he means to me. For that, I can’t forgive you.”

He had paid tribute to Mr Javeed recalling how he “worked day in day out to provide for his family” without ever taking a holiday.

The court heard he had done a number of jobs from cleaning bins to toilets before being able to run his own business, for which he would leave the family home in London on Sundays and travel back on Fridays.

In contrast, Sofiane stated Zarif killed Mr Javeed out of pure “greed” adding: “You will never amount to a fraction of what my dad was.”

He described how he had looked into his eyes during the trial but had only seen “arrogance” and not the “sincere regret” he claimed to have.

He also reflected on the terror he could see in his father as his final moments were captured on CCTV.

Sofiane said: “I can see it through his body, see it through his face. I wish I could put the same fear in you but my father raised a real man and he wouldn’t wish me to do so.”

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