Page last updated at 16:47 GMT, Tuesday, 10 November 2009

Race hate murder man found guilty

Christopher Miller and Kunal Mohanty
Miller slashed Kunal Mohanty in the neck as he walked to a restaurant

A man has been jailed for a minimum of 18 years for the racially aggravated murder of an Indian naval officer in the Gorbals area of Glasgow.

Christopher Miller, 25, slashed father-to-be Kunal Mohanty, 30, in the neck as he walked to a restaurant with his friends in March.

Miller claimed it was a botched mugging but a jury at the High Court in Glasgow returned a unanimous verdict of murder.

The judge said the killing was as "incomprehensible as it was evil".

During the trial at the High Court in Glasgow prosecutors said the seaman was attacked because of his skin colour.

Mr Mohanty, who was due to become a father for the first time, was in Glasgow to sit his captain's exams at the city's Nautical College.

The court heard that he was left bleeding to death from an 18cm long hole in his neck in the attack in Bedford Lane near the Citizens' Theatre.

A casualty consultant described Mr Mohanty's neck injury as "one of the worst he had ever seen".

Miller and his friend were seen on CCTV footage after the attack

Prosecutor Dorothy Bain QC said it was "an atrocity delivered without mercy, a death blow" and "an unprovoked attack on a blameless, defenceless and wholly decent man because Christopher Miller didn't like the colour of his skin."

As Mr Mohanty lay dying in the street with blood gushing from his neck, Miller and his friend John McGrory, 20, were seen on CCTV running through a car park celebrating.

Mr McGrory was so close to Miller when he killed Mr Mohanty that he got the dead man's blood on his trainers.

Both men are seen cuddling, punching their arms in the air and at one point skinhead Miller is seen putting his jumper over his head in a football-style celebration.

The whole incident was captured on security cameras at the procurator fiscal's office.

Everyone in this city and this country should feel shame for what you did
Temporary judge John Beckett QC

An hour later Miller was again captured on CCTV throwing sauce at staff at Asian takeaway Sizzlers and shouting racial abuse at them.

Mr Miller's brother Jamie Miller, 17, from Govanhill, Glasgow, gave evidence during the trial and said Miller told him he had "done a Paki".

After the verdicts Dorothy Bain QC, prosecuting, told the court that Miller has a violent past including convictions for assault and robbery and carrying knives.

Miller's QC Donald Findlay said: "My client has been clear through all this that the fact that the deceased is Asian is wholly irrelevant.

"He was not motivated by racism - it was a drunken mugging which went tragically awry."

'No remorse'

Sentencing him temporary judge John Beckett QC told Miller: "Your behaviour after the murder suggested that you were anything but sorry and appeared to be celebrating."

"The murder was racially aggravated. There can be no justification for slashing the neck of someone who did you no harm.

"To do so because of the colour of a man's skin is as incomprehensible as it is evil. Everyone in this city and this country should feel shame for what you did."

He told Miller that it would be up to the parole board to decide when he is released.

Speaking after the verdict, Lesley Thomson, area procurator fiscal for Glasgow said: "Kunal Mohanty was doing nothing other than enjoying time off his studies with friends.

"He was attacked for no reason other than that Christopher Miller is a racist.

"He died because Christopher Miller had a knife and had no hesitation in using it."

She added: "Glasgow rightly celebrates its cultural diversity and everyone should be free to enjoy the city in safety.

"Together with the police, we will ensure those who pose a threat to this are brought to justice."

Det Insp Gary Thomson, the officer in charge of the investigation, said: "The racist murder of an innocent man on our streets obviously caused a lot of concern and fear in the community, however fortunately crimes of this nature aren't common.

"However one is still one too many, and the senseless loss of life is tragic. Strathclyde Police will not tolerate this type of racially motivated behaviour in our communities."

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