I fear my brother’s killer will take his mo­tive to the grave

Sunday Sun - - News - By Sophie Doughty Crime Re­porter sophie.doughty@ncj­me­dia.co.uk

FOR­EVER haunted by his brother’s ap­par­ently mo­tive­less mur­der, Mah­sum Begum is now beg­ging for an­swers be­fore it’s too late.

Tipu Sul­tan was shot dead in an ex­e­cu­tion-style gun slay­ing at his South Shields take­away more than four years ago.

But to this day, de­tec­tives and his fam­ily have no idea why the lov­ing dad was gunned down.

Michael McDougall is be­hind bars af­ter be­ing found guilty of Tipu’s mur­der, but has never re­vealed the rea­son for the attack.

Next week he will be back in court to be sen­tenced for per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice af­ter be­ing con­victed of con­spir­ing with no­to­ri­ous John Henry Say­ers over a shoot­ing at Tup Tup Palace night­club.

Dur­ing the dra­matic trial, at Lon­don’s Old Bai­ley, it was re­vealed that McDougall had been di­ag­nosed with can­cer.

And Mah­sum has to­day told he fears the killer could die in prison, tak­ing an­swers over his brother’s mur­der to the grave with him.

The 27-year-old said: “We still don’t know why he did it. We’re al­ways go­ing to be won­der­ing ‘why?’ I still hope we find out one day.

“If some­one does know we would just ask them to tell us, in con­fi­dence, so we can have a bit of clo­sure. I have heard he has got can­cer and it does worry me.

“If he is ill and dy­ing he should just tell the truth.”

Dad-of-two Tipu was just 32 when he was shot in the neck at his Herbs & Spice Kitchen take­away, on Lake Av­enue, South Shields.

The shoot­ing hap­pened in full view of Tipu’s fa­ther and a chef at the take­away.

With no sus­pects and no mo­tive, what was to be­come an ex­tremely chal­leng­ing mur­der probe for Northum­bria Po­lice was launched, led by Det Chief Insp John Bent.

Fol­low­ing ex­ten­sive trawl­ing of CCTV footage, house-to-house Mur­der vic­tim Tipu Sul­tan’s brother Mah­sum Sul­tan and griev­ing par­ents Aleya Begum and Amin Miah talk at a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing the shoot­ing in­quiries and a Crime­watch ap­peal, McDougall and ac­com­plice Michael Mullen were iden­ti­fied as the prime sus­pects.

Both men de­nied be­ing in­volved in the killing, but a jury at New­cas­tle Crown Court found McDougall guilty of mur­der, while Mullen was cleared of mur­der but con­victed of man­slaugh­ter.

McDougall, then 47, of Hyl­ton Av­enue, South Shields, was jailed for life with a min­i­mum of 34 years, while Mullen, who was 25, of Hawthorne Av­enue, South Shields, was locked up for 12 years.

How­ever, the pair’s de­nials meant Det Chief Insp Bent never got to the bot­tom of why Tipu was killed.

At the time of their con­vic­tion he vowed to con­tinue in­ves­ti­gat­ing the mur­der un­til a mo­tive was found.

He told the Chron­i­cle that he too was frus­trated by the mys­tery.

“It is some­thing we haven’t for­got­ten about just be­cause there have been con­vic­tions. The mo­tive is some­thing we will be do­ing our best to try and un­earth,” he said.

“I’m frus­trated my­self. De­spite your pro­fes­sional in­volve­ment you do get close to peo­ple and see the im­pact on their lives. It’s a vo­ca­tion to try and find that out and give them some jus­tice and clo­sure.”

Mah­sum says he has not given up hope that de­tec­tives will get to the bot­tom of it. “I think the po­lice are still try­ing. I don’t think they have given up. There was no rea­son any­one would want him dead.”

McDougall, now 50, found him­self back in the dock this sum­mer when he was ac­cused of mak­ing a false con­fes­sion claim­ing to be the gun­man who shot a door­man out­side New­cas­tle’s Tup Tup Palace.

The Old Bai­ley heard how the claim came af­ter the mur­derer met John Henry Say­ers in HMP Wake­field while Say­ers was await­ing trial, hav­ing been charged with or­der­ing the gun attack.

Pros­e­cu­tors claimed Say­ers “put McDougall up to” con­fess­ing to it. A jury found both guilty of per­vert­ing the course of jus­tice, though cleared of the other charges. Both are due to be sen­tenced on Fri­day.

The court also heard how McDougall was suf­fer­ing from can­cer and had been un­der­go­ing chemo­ther­apy.

Tipu was a pop­u­lar, well-known mem­ber of the com­mu­nity. Mah­sum said they have now opened a new take­away, in the Grindon area of Sun­der­land, called Sul­tans.

He added: “We are just try­ing to get on with things. Hope­fully we will get there one day.”

IAIN BUIST

A CCTV image of two peo­ple on a mo­tor­bike the night take­away owner Tipu Sul­tan was shot

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