Fri, Jul 24, 2009 - Page 6 News List

UK paid Somalia to seize suspect in police murder


The final member of a robbery gang who shot dead a policewoman in Bradford, northern England, was jailed for life on Wednesday as details emerged of a snatch operation in Somalia that brought him back to face a British court.

A judge allowed publication for the first time of a deal in which the British government paid the African state, which has no ­diplomatic ties with London, to seize 29-year-old Mustaf Jama in the desert two years ago, close to his warlord father’s headquarters.

The ambush of Jama’s Land Rover by 15 militiamen nearly failed when a pilot, hired to fly the captured gangster to Dubai, tried to back out, thinking that he was caught up in an anti al-Qaeda operation that could bring reprisals.

He was persuaded to proceed and the course was set which ended in Jama’s conviction in a retrial at Newcastle crown court, with a minimum 35-year term for the murder of PC Sharon Beshenivsky, who was 38 and had three children and two stepchildren.

The shooting took place in Bradford on Nov. 18, 2005. Beshenivsky was killed and her colleague, PC Teresa Millburn, now 39, seriously injured when they answered an alarm call from a travel agency that specialized in sending cash overseas.

Justice Openshaw said Jama was one of three “ruthless and dangerous men” who took part in the raid and who are now all serving life. It was not clear who fired at the officers, but Jama’s presence at the scene made him “as much guilty of murder” as the others, Muzzaker Shah and Jama’s younger brother, Yusuf, according to the prosecution.

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