Anguish at acquittal over pub gun killing

THE parents of a West Yorkshire publican who was shot dead had been left devastated after a man was acquitted of his murder, police said today.

Tariq Sattar had run The Black Bull at Huddersfield, where he lived alone, for just four months when he was shot in the cellar following a raid in 1998, a court was told.

He had found two men lying in wait when he returned to the pub in Halifax Old Road, Birkby after taking a bar worker home.

Mr Sattar's mother and father, of Trinity Street, Huddersfield, were left shattered because the identity of the killer remained a riddle.

"They feel they've been let down by the criminal justice system," said Det Insp Iain Devey, of Huddersfield CID.

"The jury has heard all the evidence in the case and accepted both men were in the public house that night but this has not led to a murder conviction."

Mr Sattar, 35, was tied by his wrists and ankles and then blasted in the back of his neck with a sawn-off shotgun. He died instantly.

Kevin Fisher, 46, was alleged to have pulled the trigger but a jury found him not guilty of murder. He was convicted of attempted robbery.

Fisher, of Abbey Road Fartown, Huddersfield, who always maintained he was not at the pub, was jailed for six years at Leeds Crown Court.

The second man, Paul Lovell, 25, admitted burglary after facing a murder charge that was later dropped by the prosecution.

Lovell, of St Mary's Avenue, Wike, Bradford was jailed for two years. He was also sentenced to a further five years, to run consecutively, after admitting taking part in a robbery at an estate agent's while on bail after the killing.

Although Fisher denied being involved in the murder, Julian Goose QC, prosecuting, said: "It has always been the prosecution's case that it was Fisher who provided the gun and pulled the trigger and killed the deceased."

In evidence, Lovell claimed Fisher had asked him to go on the raid after telling him a mate had "set up" the landlord by switching off the pub alarm and leaving a window open.

They broke in through a bathroom window. Lovell claimed he was unaware Fisher was armed until he pulled out the shortened shotgun from a sports bag.

Lovell told the jury he was upstairs ransacking the safe when he heard a shot in the cellar and went to investigate.

"I saw Kevin stood there with the gun in his hand and smoke and Mr Sattar on the floor," he said.

But Fisher, who did not give evidence, claimed Lovell was lying to try to shift the blame from himself.

Mr Justice Astill told Fisher he had broken into the pub in the early hours wearing a balaclava and gloves knowing the licensee would be there.