Ex-soldier convicted of murdering Bangladeshi waiter applies for new case review

Michael Ross: Fresh appeal bid to overturn murder conviction. Picture: PA
Michael Ross: Fresh appeal bid to overturn murder conviction. Picture: PA
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The Scot convicted of murdering an Asian waiter on Orkney is making a fresh bid to clear his name.

• Decorated ex-soldier in new bid to clear name following murder conviction

• Shamsuddin Mahmood was shot by a masked gunman in Kirkwall’s Mumutaz restaurant in 1994

• Prosecutors claimed Ross’ racist views drove him to kill

Iraqi war veteran Michael Ross, jailed for 25 years in 2008 for the cold-blooded racist killing of Shamsuddin Mahmood, 26, at the Mumutaz restaurant in Kirkwall 14 years earlier, has asked the Scottish Criminal Cases Review Commission to examine the conviction.

The SCCRC investigates alleged miscarriages of justice.

The former Black Watch sniper was found guilty at the age of just 15 of shooting Mr Mahmood in the head.

The murder had remained unsolved until Northern Constabulary re-opened the investigation in a cold-case review and brought the married father to justice.

Jailing him for a minimum of 25 years, Lord Hardie told the former sergeant it had been “a vicious, evil, unprovoked murder”.

Five years were later added to his sentence for trying to escape at the end of his trial. A car containing an automatic rifle, 500 rounds of ammunition and a hand grenade was found nearby.

However, Ross, who is serving the sentence at Shotts Prison in Lanarkshire, has always maintained his innocence.

Attempts to overturn the conviction have failed, and he has now turned to the SCCRC, which has the authority to refer cases back to the appeal court.

A spokeswoman for SCCRC said: “We can confirm that we have received an application from Michael Ross and we are currently considering whether to accept the case.”

His conviction was helped by an eyewitness who had originally stayed silent, but came forward more than a decade later saying he had seen Ross in the area of the restaurant.

Ross claimed that when police officers questioned him as a teenager, they did not take his age into consideration.

His defence advocate Chris Shead has said the use of evidence gleaned from the interviews might have made his trial, years later, unfair and breached his human rights.

But judges ruled they were not satisfied it was a case that merited leave to appeal.

In 2008 a potential new witness came forward. Aberdeen woman Amelia Swanney, 30, said she was with Ross in another part of Kirkwall when Mr Mahmood was shot.

Ross’ father, Eddie Ross, a former policeman has relaunched his bid to get his son freed from prison, claiming the conviction was “a serious miscarriage of justice”.

He has printed more than 1,000 campaign letters and has been handing them out in the streets of Orkney, as well as sending them to politicians, including justice secretary Kenny MacAskill and First Minister Alex Salmon.

The leaflet reads: “The case against Michael has to be one of the most flawed and corrupt court cases ever to come into the public domain and is an absolute disgrace.

“It has become one of an increasing number of criminal cases where the terms credible witness, evidence and beyond all reasonable doubt have been deliberately ignored.

“It brings new meaning to what is seen as a serious miscarriage of justice.”

Mr Ross sen, 59, worked for Northern Constabulary when the murder happened and was jailed for four years for trying to defeat the ends of justice.