Mo Siddique lawyers appeal against jail term
A BUSINESSMAN who arranged the contract murder of his brother has appealed against a minimum 25-year jail term, claiming it is too long.
• Mo Siddique sentenced to 25 years in jail whilst hitman Tencho Andonov ordered to serve 29 years
• Lawyers for Siddique concerned that their client had been given similar sentencing to killers
• Trial was one of the longest in recent times, lasting four months
Lawyers for Mo Siddique, 43, argued at the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh that the sentence unjustifiably put him in the same league as underworld killers.
The man hired by Siddique, Tencho Andonov, 29, was ordered to serve at least 29 years in prison and he, too, submitted to the court that the sentence was excessive and should be reduced.
A third man, Deyan Nikolov, 28, who was the go-between in the deal, received a minimum term of 18 years. The Crown wants that period to be increased on the basis that it is unduly lenient.
After hearing submissions in all three cases, Lord Clarke, sitting with Lady Smith and Lord Philip, said they wanted time to consider their decisions and would announce them at a later date.
Siddique, of Auchtertool, Fife, and his brother, Toby Siddique, 38, had clashed over control of their lucrative flat rental business in Fife.
Nikolov, a Bulgarian living in Kirkcaldy, Fife, was Siddique’s “right hand man”, a trial heard, and he knew Andonov, also a Bulgarian and staying in Livingston, West Lothian.
Andonov was hired for £18,000 and it was arranged that he should go to a flat in Glenrothes in October 2010 to meet Toby Siddique, pretending to have cheap cigarettes to sell.
In the flat, Andonov shot Toby Siddique repeatedly in the head. He also fired at a second man, who survived.
After one of the longest trials in Scotland in recent times, running for more than four months, all three men were found guilty of murdering Toby Siddique and given life sentences with their respective minimum terms.
Andonov was also convicted of attempting to murder the other man in the flat.
Gordon Jackson, QC, for Siddique, cited to the appeal court the case of James McDonald and Raymond Anderson, Glasgow gangland figures who were convicted of the shooting murder of a man at a garage in the Lambhill area of the city. They had also been found guilty of two charges of attempted murder and serious firearms offences. Each was jailed for life, and the appeal court had set 30 years as their minimum periods.
“It is difficult to make comparisons at all, but if one can, that case was clearly much more serious than the present case. Given the non-criminal background of Mr Siddique, 25 years for one offence is too high,” said Mr Jackson.
Brian McConnachie, QC, for Andonov, said it was accepted that a “very significant punishment part “ (minimum period) was inevitable.
“However, the submission is that the punishment part selected by the trial judge was excessive...in the circumstances of this case, 29 years is just too much,” he added.
The advocate-depute, Gillian Wade, contended that seven years had been too great a distinction to draw between Siddique and Nikolov.
“Having regard to the role played by Nikolov, (his) sentence was unduly lenient. They were very, very close allies...he was Siddique’s right-hand man, a trusted friend, and without the help of Nikolov, a gunman could not have been identified and arrangements for the killing could not have been put in place,” said Ms Wade.
“It is fair to say Siddique was the person who wanted his brother killed and made the arrangements but Nikolov’s role was absolutely fundamental. The crime could not have been achieved without this third man.”
Donald Findlay, QC, for Nikolov, argued for the sentence to stand. He said his client had been “sucked in” by Siddique, a “manipulator par excellence” who had been the driving force from first to last.
“To say that without Nikolov the shooting could not have taken place is mistaken,” said Mr Findlay.
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