Page last updated at 17:39 GMT, Thursday, 19 November 2009

Man guilty of flatmate's murder

Irshad Wali
Wali killed Mr Khan by striking him repeatedly in the home they shared

A 52-year-old man who bludgeoned his flatmate to death then dumped his burning body beside a motorway has been found guilty of murder.

Afghan immigrant Irshad Wali faces a life sentence for killing 60-year-old businessman Sher Khan, who he shared a home with in Plaistow, east London.

The charred remains of the Mr Khan were found on the M45 motorway near Rugby, Warwickshire, on 30 December 2008.

A jury at the Old Bailey took just an hour to reach their verdict.

They rejected Wali's claim that a mystery man killed the father of seven before forcing him to dispose of the body.

'Painstaking investigation'

Mr Khan's brother Raj said in a victim impact statement that the way his body was disposed of was a "humiliation".

He said the victim's four daughters and three sons "miss their father a lot".

Jurors heard that Wali killed Mr Khan by striking him repeatedly in the hallway of the home they shared before wrapping his body in a sheet and driving it north.

A thorough and painstaking police investigation did uncover the identity of the dead man
Jeremy Donne QC

Later Wali attempted to clean up the murder scene and "set about a deception that the dead man was in fact still alive and well" by withdrawing £300 from the victim's bank accounts.

"If the body was not identified and if the victim had not been reported missing, because people thought he was alive and well, then this defendant would quite literally have got away with murder," said Jeremy Donne QC, prosecuting.

"Unfortunately for him a thorough and painstaking police investigation did uncover the identity of the dead man and uncover the evidence that points conclusively to the defendant's guilt."

The silver Toyota Carina used to transport the body was traced to Mr Khan. It led police to the address in Plaistow where they arrested Wali.

CCTV from a Texaco service station showed the defendant filling a plastic container with petrol before the fire, Mr Donne told the jury.

Petrol found around the body was later identified as having come from Texaco.

A witness had seen a man she later said was Wali standing in front of a silver vehicle on the hard shoulder of the motorway, while another described a "whoosh of flame" as the fire was lit, the court heard.

Wali, who was also convicted of perverting the course of justice, will be sentenced on Friday.



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