Page last updated at 16:44 GMT, Thursday, 25 February 2010

Arrests over Huddersfield shopkeeper murder

Gurmail Singh
Mr Singh had celebrated his 63rd birthday the day before the attack

Three teenagers have been arrested in connection with the murder of a shopkeeper who was attacked during a robbery at his store in Huddersfield.

Father-of-three Gurmail Singh, 63, died in hospital after the attack at Cowcliffe Convenience Store, Cowcliffe, on Saturday night.

A post-mortem examination showed Mr Singh suffered at least nine blows to the head, probably from a hammer.

Police said two 17-year-olds and an 18-year-old were being held.

Speaking at a press conference outside the shop, Det Supt David Pervin said: "These men have been arrested as a result of the tremendous public response to my earlier appeals for information about this incident."

My appeal for information in this investigation stands and it is imperative that we still receive information
Det Supt David Pervin

Mr Pervin said the teenagers, all from the Huddersfield area, had been detained in connection with both the murder and an earlier incident at Mr Singh's shop.

He said they were under going forensic examinations and would be questioned by detectives from the homicide and major enquiry team.

However, the detective stressed he still needed information from the public.

"Although we have made theses arrests I must stress that it is not known at this time if those arrested were involved in either the murder or the earlier robbery," he said.

"My appeal for information in this investigation stands and it is imperative that we still receive information from the public into the incident."

'Gentle gentleman'

Mr Pervin made a direct appeal to those involved in the attack on Mr Singh to come forward.

"They know who they are," he said.

"The spotlight is already upon them and I call on them to do the right thing and hand themselves in now before we knock at their door and arrest them."

Mr Singh has been described as a well-loved member of the community.

More than 30 bunches of flowers have been laid outside Mr Singh's home, which is just a short distance from his store.

One of the tributes read: "In memory of a gentle gentleman."

Another, apparently written by a young child and accompanied by a youngster's picture, read: "You were a nice man. Very kind all the time. Helpful. Shouldn't have been killed."

The tribute finished: "You had a nice shop."

Speaking in the House of Commons earlier, deputy Labour leader Harriet Harman paid tribute to Mr Singh.

She said: "I want to express my sincerest condolences to the family for what is an absolutely tragic loss of life, an absolutely tragic situation."

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