Newlywed Muhammed Sohail was blasted in the head at almost point-blank range in a ‘cold blooded execution’ - by mistake.
His killer, Jervais Boyaram, had intended to take revenge on a group of youths he had rowed with earlier for ‘disrespecting’ him at a Birmingham petrol station - but he got the wrong car.
Today (Monday, October 2) Boyaram, aged 37, has been jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 31 years after being found guilty of murder following a trial at Coventry Crown Court.
Judge Francis Laird KC said: "You shot him in the face at very close range. It is believed that Mr Sohail died instantly but his body was not discovered until the early hours of the following morning."
The court heard Boyaram was filling up his Smart car at a petrol station when an argument broke out with a group of men who were in a silver VW at 10.40pm. The group left, but Boyaram then drove around trying to find them and spotted newlywed Mr Sohail, who was driving a similar silver VW.
After following him, Boyaram pulled up alongside Mr Sohail’s car next to his home on Wright Road in Saltley, wound down his window and shot him before driving off.
The judge added: "Following that confrontation you felt angry and disrespected. You toured the area three times looking for the Volkswagen and at approximately 11.25pm you were parked outside Shangos when Mr Sohail drove past in his Silver Volkswagen Passat.
"In the mistaken belief that the car was the Volkswagen Jetta you pursued Mohammed Sohail to Wright Road. I am satisfied that it was your intention to kill Mr Sohail and that it was quite simply a cold-blooded execution of a man you had mistakenly believed had disrespected you earlier that evening."
Mr Sohail’s neighbours tried in vain to save him following the shooting on February 18 last year. Tragically, Mr Sohail had gone back out to help a broken-down motorist he had spotted on the way home from having dinner with his family.
The Good Samaritan dropped his wife home to help the stricken driver, before he was shot on his second drive home while trying to find a parking space. The court heard that after the killing Boyaram had driven to his girlfriend’s house, leaving the Smart car there for the rest of the night.
‘He had recently been married’
The judge said: "I am satisfied you disposed of the gun with the assistance of another. It has not been recovered." Describing the victim, the judge added: "He had recently been married. We have heard of the devastating effect of his death in moving victim personal statements from his wife, mother, brother and sister. He was indeed a loving and much-loved husband, son and brother."
West Midlands Police said detectives were able to identify the Smart car involved from CCTV due to the registration plate and its distinctive roof. The car was captured on CCTV driving across the city for five miles to an address in the Yardley area of the city where a family member of Boyaram lived.
Boyaram was then arrested at his home in Chelmsley Wood, Birmingham, on suspicion of murder. Officers searching his address found the Smart car key which was hidden inside a door frame while the car was parked up on a nearby road.
‘A horrendous case of mistaken identity’
Detective Chief Inspector Nick Barnes, of West Midlands Police, said: “This was an horrendous case of mistaken identity. Boyaram killed Mr Sohail that night after he saw him drive past, and we believe Boyaram followed the car believing it contained the group he’d had an altercation with earlier that evening.
"Regardless of this, he was carrying a gun and his intention was to kill that night. Sohail and his wife had been out for food earlier that evening. As they were returning home he spotted another motorist had broken down.
"He dropped his wife home and returned to help. It was on his return home the second time when he was killed by Boyaram. I want to thank all of the witnesses who have courageously come forward. I know it can’t have been an easy thing to do. I hope this verdict brings some closure to Mr Sohail’s family and our thoughts remain with them.”
Sohail’s father said: "My son Muhammed Sohail was purely innocent in this matter and had his life taken so needlessly and without any reason. He will be missed by all of us forevermore."