'Pillar of local community' stabbed to death in shop
A SHOPKEEPER who was stabbed to death while looking after his family's store was last night remembered as a "pillar of the community".
Ahmjid Ismail, 34, was found slumped near the cash register of the outlet he ran with his father in Maybole, Ayrshire.
He had been working in Kirkland Stores when he was attacked at around 5:30pm on Wednesday.
Mr Ismail is understood to have been stabbed in the neck before being found in a pool of blood by a customer.
He was taken to Ayr Hospital, where he died later of his injuries.
Neighbours last night paid tribute Mr Ismail as "an incredibly popular character".
Although the attack came on the same day that Asian men were sentenced for the murder of Glasgow schoolboy Kriss Donald, Strathclyde Police last night said there was nothing to suggest that the killing was racially motivated. They have not ruled out robbery as a motive.
The town's Kirkland Street, where the incident occurred, remained cordoned off yesterday while forensic officers examined the scene.
Floral tributes were laid at a wall near the shop, where a police officer stood guard.
Among the flowers were messages reading, "Rest in peace, you will be missed" and "Our thoughts are with you".
Brian Kennedy, 31, who lives nearby said the victim's father Mohammed has run the shop for about 20 years and the family were well known and respected.
The company director said no-one he knew could believe what had happened. "He was quiet and lived with his family," he added.
"They are about as honest and hard-working as you will get. Everybody is pretty shocked by what has happened - it's unbelievable. Maybole isn't exactly the biggest of places and I can't remember anything like this happening before."
Acquaintances described Mr Ismail as a jovial, friendly man who enjoyed his job.
Paul Thomson, 23, who lived in Kirkland Street, directly across from the shop,
said: "He didn't deserve it. He was a nice guy. The family's well-liked around here. "
David Kiltie, chairman of Maybole Community Council, spoke of the town's shock at the killing. He said: "I knew Ahmjid and his father, Mohammed, they were solid pillars of the local community.
"Both were extremely hard-working and very involved in the community.
Quite honestly, we are horrified by this and our heart goes out to the family. Murder is not a common occurrence in Maybole. We've never known the like of it."
Superintendent John Mitchell who is leading the murder hunt
said: "This was a completely unprovoked attack, and
I would appeal to any witnesses to assist police enquiries."
Mr Mitchell said he was examining CCTV footage and was keen to trace a man seen near the shop between 2:30pm and 5:30pm yesterday. He is described as white, aged between 20 and 30 years old, and was of medium build.
He wore a dark-coloured three-quarter length hooded jacket and a dark-coloured woollen hat.
Cathy Jamieson, the justice minister and local MSP, said: "I am absolutely shocked by this news.
"My thoughts are with the family and the wider community in Maybole, who will be stunned by this tragedy."
• POLICE are treating the death of a 44-year-old man found yesterday in his home in Powfoot Street, Parkhead, Glasgow, as suspicious.
A post mortem examination will be held this afternoon to establish the exact cause of death.
Detective Inspector Robbie Allan, who is in charge of this investigation, said: "A detailed forensic examination is ongoing at the flat and detectives are currently studying CCTV footage in an effort to glean further details."
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