Page last updated at 13:20 GMT, Monday, 22 February 2010

Huddersfield shopkeeper killed by teenage robbers

Gurmail Singh
Mr Singh died in hospital after suffering a head injury in the robbery

A shopkeeper has been killed in a robbery by a gang of teenagers at his store in Huddersfield.

Gurmail Singh, 63, suffered a head injury during the attack at Cowcliffe Convenience Store in Cowcliffe Hill Road, Cowcliffe, on Saturday night.

He died at Huddersfield Royal Infirmary in the early hours of the morning.

Detectives say the robbers, who were aged in their late teens, fled after a struggle with passers-by who had tried to stop them leaving the shop.

"This was a group of six people who heard a commotion at the shop and went to help," a West Yorkshire Police spokesman said.

"None of them was injured during the incident."

'Popular businessman'

The offenders, who were wearing dark hooded tops and tracksuit bottoms, escaped with a small amount of cash, cigarettes and confectionery, police said.

Det Supt David Pervin describes how a witness tried to stop the attackers from escaping

Det Supt David Pervin, who is leading the investigation, said: "Mr Singh was a well-known and popular local businessman who had been in this area many years.

"I appeal for anyone with information to contact us as a matter of urgency."

Mr Singh was "a family man with two adult sons", police added.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place on Monday to determine the exact cause of death.

Mehboob Khan, leader of Kirklees Council, said Mr Singh was "extremely hard-working" and "would not hurt a fly".

"He was very popular in the area, particularly with his elderly customers.

"I remember very recently he went out in the snow to deliver essential groceries to them.

"He was always putting other people first and thinking of his family. He was a real pillar of the community."

'A lot bigger'

Neighbour Ian Davison said there had been trouble at Mr Singh's shop as recently as Thursday when a group of teenagers had attempted to smash open the till.

"Mr Singh was saying that four kids had been causing trouble," he said.

Cowcliffe Convenience Stores in Cowcliffe, Huddersfield
The robbers escaped after a struggle with passers-by in the shop doorway

"He said he did not want to take them on because they were a lot bigger than him."

Mr Davison said there was a drugs problem in the area that was "getting out of hand".

Mr Singh's death had left the local community shocked, he added.

"He was a really popular, lovely bloke," he said. "You couldn't wish to meet a nicer bloke than Mr Singh.

"Even in the snow he was pulling his sledge up here with his grandson, making sure the papers got delivered."

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