JAILED: Kitchen worker gets 27 years for murdering his boss at Halfway House diner
A kitchen worker who brutally murdered a Shropshire cafe owner in cold blood for his life savings has been jailed for more than 27 years.
Belkar Singh, aged 58, struck and stabbed his employer Satnam Singh Blugher - known locally as 'Mr B' - more than 50 times at Tony's Diner on the A458 at Halfway House between Shrewsbury and Welshpool on June 25 last year, using a pan and knives.
He then took Mr Blugher's keys and went to the locked bedroom where Mr Blugher's life savings was kept and stole £47,000, along with gold jewellery belonging to the family before fleeing the area.
The illegal immigrant was found guilty by a jury in an unanimous verdict following a six-week trial at Stafford Crown Court.
Judge Michael Chambers sentenced Singh to a minimum term of 27 years and 127 days imprisonment for the killing and said he was satisfied that it was a "premeditated, planned murder for gain".
The judge said: "The evidence which implicates you is overwhelming. Both the devious and manipulative way you have sought to deceive the jury and malign the children of Mr B in the case that was put forward by those who represent you, under your instruction. I am afraid it just goes to underline that this was a premeditated murder by a devious man.
"Mr B had worked hard to establish a successful business which benefits not just him and his family."
He told Singh that the loss of Mr Blugher to his family was tragic and unnecessary.
"Mr B was a man who expected high standards from the staff, but on occasion spoke to them harshly, but that was a world apart from any employee wishing him dead. The only person who felt that embittered was you.
"The reality was that he and his son showed you particular kindness, especially you as an illegal immigrant.They offered you board and lodgings and helped you to attend appointments in Birmingham.
"In June of last year you decided to kill him for his money with the intention of disappearing and starting a new life. Although this was a premeditated act, it is unclear when precisely you formed that intention," the judge said.
He added that the killer had shown no remorse for his actions which h is described as "chilling".
The jury heard that Singh "motivated by greed" killed the victim in a "cowardly attack" before he helped himself to his life savings and the day's takings from the till before fleeing in a taxi the following morning. Singh, of Booth Street, Handsworth, was arrested he had about £47,000 and jewellery that belonged to Mr Blugher in his bags.
Singh repeatedly denied murdering the grandfather of four and claimed two other men were responsible for entering the cafe and bludgeoning him to death in a revenge attack over an alleged matter involving the businessman.
Mr Blugher, aged 67, known locally as 'Mr B' was found on the kitchen floor at the diner by his son. He had been stabbed and struck with a sharp instrument more than 50 times at the business he owned.
Background to the case:
Singh, of Booth Street, Birmingham, had tried to claim at Stafford Crown Court that two other men had committed the murder in a revenge killing. But the prosecution said that, motivated by greed, it was Singh and no one else who was responsible for the murder.
The court heard that Singh was employed mainly to wash dishes at the popular roadside diner. The Punjabi-speaking Indian national had overstayed his visitor’s visa and was working illegally in the UK.
Following the sentencing, Detective Inspector Mark Bellamy of the Major Incident Unit based at Malinsgate Police Station in Telford said: "Belkar Singh has today been found guilty of the murder of Satnam Singh Blugher in June last year, and today he has been brought to justice for his actions.
"However, Mr Blugher's family will spend the rest of their lives coming to terms with the loss of a much-loved father and grandfather and my thoughts are with them at what continues to be an exceptionally difficult and distressing time. They have supported the investigation throughout and I would like to thank them for their support and dignity throughout the process.
"Although nothing will bring Satnam back to his family and friends, I hope that today's outcome brings them at least a small sense that justice has been done.
"Satnam ran his business in Halfway House for some 15 years, during which time he made many friends in the local community. Many people were shocked and appalled when news of his death was announced in summer. I would like to thank those who came forward to support our investigation by providing information and statements.
"Finally I'd like to thank all of the officers and staff working on this investigation for their hard work and determination throughout, in order to bring the case to court. Although crimes of this nature are thankfully rare within our policing areas, this sentence highlights the complexity of the six-month investigation which took place in order to bring this offender to justice."
Halfway House murder - How the case unfolded:
- Halfway House murder trial: Jury hears evidence on bloody footprints
- Accused 'told lies to police over fear of reprisals'
- Diner owner 'died in revenge killing'
- Halfway House murder accused had 'overstayed visa'
- Accused says victim was his friend
- Victim's blood found on polo shirt, court told
- Stabbing victim was ‘like Gordon Ramsay’
- Accused is taken ill
- Worker felt ‘uneasy’ about accused
- Argument heard at diner, jury is told
- Stab victim’s son found father’s body at diner
- Owner was stabbed nearly 50 times at diner near Shrewsbury
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