Riasat Khan charged of 1978 Aberdeen murder after 39 years on run

A man will spend the rest of his life behind bars after a jury convicted him of murdering a restaurant owner 39 years ago.

Riasat Khan charged with 1978 Aberdeen murder. Picture: Police Scotland

Riasat Khan,63, spent almost 40 years on the run after he repeatedly stabbed businessman Kazi Ahmad at a flat in Aberdeen in October 1978.

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The High Court in Edinburgh heard how Mr Khan was working as a chef in the city’s Raj Dulal restaurant when he attacked his 41-year-old boss. He stabbed the keen gambler on the neck and body before escaping on a train to Edinburgh where he spent time waging large amounts of money in a betting shop.

Khan, who has previous convictions, then fled Britain and spent time in Greece before returning home to Pakistan. He later returned to Britain in the early 90s and settled in Cardiff.

Khan wasn’t arrested until last year.

A police officer at Birmingham Airport discovered that Scottish colleagues had issued a warrant for Khan’s arrest in the days following Mr Ahmad’s death.

Khan was then detained and brought to back to Scotland to stand trial. He claimed he acted in self defence because his victim had lost his temper and that Mr Ahmad wanted him to perform sex acts on him.

However, police and prosecutors were unable to find any evidence to find the crime had been motivated by sexual desire. They believed that Khan attacked Mr Ahmad to steal cash from him.

Jurors also refused to believe Khan’s story and convicted him of murder on Wednesday afternoon.

Following conviction, Lord Beckett asked prosecution lawyer Jane Farquharson why it has taken 39 years to bring Khan to justice.

Ms Farquharson said she was unable to provide answers at this point in time. But she said prosecutors would find out ahead of Khan being sentenced later this month.

Lord Beckett deferred sentence on Khan in order for the court to obtain reports about his character. He told the jury that he was keen to find out why it has taken so long for Khan to be brought to court for the matter.

Lord Beckett said: “I want to know why it has taken 39 years for this matter to court and why this person has been living in unconstrained freedom for long.

“I want to know as much as possible before I impose sentence in this case.”

The verdict of the jury came on the fifth day of proceedings.

During the trial it emerged that Mr Ahmad was one of four partners in the Raj Dulal restaurant in Dee Street, Aberdeen.

It also emerged that before he died Mr Ahmad, who came to Scotland from Bangladesh, was a keen gambler who regularly visited bookmakers and a casino in the city. Khan accompanied him on trips to the casino and the court heard that Mr Ahmad showed the accused how to bet.

Other members of staff at the restaurant said Mr Ahmad was a kindly boss who would share his gambling winnings with them.

Syed Munjibur Rahman,55, worked as a waiter at the restaurant in the months before Mr Ahmad’s death.

Mr Rahman, who now owns his own restaurant in Inverness, said that one occasion Mr Ahmad gave him a £100 note after he won a bet.

He said: “He used to be more happy, more jolly if he won a lot of money. He gave me a £100 note on one occasion.

“He was a generous person. I was a young person. I had never seen a £100 note before.”

However, on Friday October 13 1978, Khan attacked his boss during a confrontation between the two at a home they shared in Rosemount Viaduct, Aberdeen.

Giving evidence, Khan said he stabbed the businessman after he refused to perform sex acts on him.

He said that in the weeks leading up to his death, Mr Ahmad paid him for “sexual relations”. This was because Khan needed money for his family in Pakistan.

He said he felt “deeply ashamed” of having sex with Mr Ahmad because he was a “religious” Moslem and that his religion believed homosexuality was “very bad”.

Khan said Mr Ahmad became angry when he refused to perform sex acts on him.

He said: “We started fighting. He tried to strike me but I struck him first.”

When defence advocate Gary Allan QC asked Khan why he struck Mr Ahmad with a knife, Khan replied: “I was scared. I thought he was going to hit me.”

Khan said he then left Aberdeen and headed to Edinburgh before heading to the continent. He then returned to Pakistan.

He said he took money from Mr Ahmad and spent it in a bookies in the Scottish capital.

Khan told Allan that Mr Ahmad was a terrible boss who treated restaurant workers “like slaves”.

Heather Picken worked in William Hills in West Maitland Street, Edinburgh in October 1978.

She told the court that she could remember an Asian gentleman coming into the shop and betting £900 on a number of large bets. The man used £100 notes.

She said: “I remember my boss worrying about what he would do if the bets won. He was concerned whether he would have enough money to pay him out.

“We never took in big bets that often. We never saw £100 notes that often.”

Khan fled abroad only to return to the UK in the early 1990s.

He was arrested after police at Birmingham Airport noticed there was a 38-year-old warrant outstanding for his arrest.

Khan was detained just as he was getting ready to board a flight to Pakistan.

He was taken into custody. Investigators then found forensic evidence which linked Khan to the crime.

Speaking after conviction, Ms Farquharson told Lord Beckett that the accused had previous convictions for dishonesty.

Mr Allan told the court that his client accepted that he would be jailed for life for the offence.

Lord Beckett adjourned sentence to the High Court in Glasgow. Khan will be sentenced on November 24 2017.

Mr Ahmad’s family welcomed the verdict as they left the court building.

One family member, who didn’t give his name, said: “We’re happy.”