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‘The pain we feel is immense’: Renewed grief for family of Luton man killed 18 years ago

Soheil Mumtaz died five days after being attacked in Luton Credit: ITV News Anglia

The family of a man from Luton, who was killed 18 years ago, have spoken of their continued grief as his killer is finally jailed.

Soheil Mimtaz, 24, was attacked by Mohammed Tabraz on 4 April 2001.

Police say Tabraz lured the father-of-one to a meeting in Kenliworth road in Luton where he brutally attacked his victim with a hammer.

Mimtaz was taken to hospital but died five days later on 9 April due to the injuries to his head, leaving behind his pregnant wife and a 14-month-old child.

Tabraz, now 39, claimed he carried out the attack in retribution for remarks made to a member of his family.

Tabraz claimed the 2001 murder was an “honour” killing. Credit: Bedfordshire Police

In order to evade arrest, Tabraz flew to Pakistan the day after the attack and set up a new life in the United States. He was later jailed in the US for drug offenses and the Bedfordshire, Cambridgeshire and Hertfordshire Major Crimes unit were alerted.

In August this year, detectives travelled to the US to complete Tabraz’s extradition back to the UK.

Mohammed Tabraz evading arrest, Philadelphia Zoo Credit: Bedfordshire Police

On 25 October, at the Central Criminal Court, Tabraz pleaded guilty to murder claiming his actions had been a so-called “honour” killing.

"Tabraz took a man’s life then cowardly hid behind a different identity in another country as he built a new life for himself."

– Detective Inspector Justine Jenkins, from the BCH Major Crime Unit, who led the investigation

Tabraz was given a life sentence today, 11 December, at St Albans Crown Court.

“Rather than face justice, you fled the country and lived a criminal and disreputable life. No doubt you would continue to evade justice, and this senseless murder initiated by you is risible and offensive to the family (of the victim).”

– His Honour Judge Michael Kay QC

Mr Mumtaz’s family paid tribute to him in a statement:

“We were almost coming to a point where we could accept it, when the offender was found and brought back, and it was almost like we were living it all again.

“At the moment the grief we feel as a family is still fresh. The pain we feel is immense, but we feel it especially around momentous days and celebrations that take place without him. All of these things have been brought about by the violent and selfish actions of Mohammed Tabraz.

“We still struggle to accept that Soheil is gone. Tabraz has affected every single member of our family in a way you cannot imagine. He has taken such a precious person away from all of us; ruined our lives and made a new one for himself, living freely without remorse or paying for his crime.

“There is no sentence that can be imposed that will ever reflect the grief and pain that has been felt by our family. Soheil will always be in our hearts, no matter how broken they are.”

– Soheil Mumtaz's family