Michael McDougall was convicted of blasting popular Tipu Sultan to death from point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun at his shop in South Shields
Gunned down Tipu Sultan’s murderer must serve at least 34 years behind bars after a jury convicted him of killing the popular takeaway boss.
Michael McDougall blasted the 32-year-old dad-of-two in the neck from point-blank range with a sawn-off shotgun at his shop in South Shields, in front of his dad.
A jury at Newcastle Crown Court on Tuesday found McDougall guilty of murder, while co-accused Michael Mullen was cleared of murder but convicted of manslaughter.
McDougall was jailed for life with a minimum of 34 years, while Mullen was locked up for 12 years.
McDougall, 47, was told by trial judge Mrs Justice Thirwall to stop shaking his head at the jury after they convicted him.
And after finding out he will be an old man before he has any chance of freedom, the remorseless killer asked the judge: “Can you not suspend mine for 12 months please?”
Sentencing him, Mrs Justice Thirlwall said: “In early April last year you got hold of a sawn-off shotgun and you were going to use it to kill a man.
“What reason you had for that, I don’t know, I doubt you will ever say. You planned the killing and recruited Mullen as your getaway driver.
“The killing took place at 10pm. Very young teenagers were out playing, a lot on their bikes, playing team tig. Some were scarcely feet away.
“What they witnessed will stay with them for the rest of their lives.
“He had no prospect of withstanding that lethal attack. He died at the scene. His father, who was standing close to his son when he was shot, witnessed his killing.
“No words can adequately describe the terror and horror he experienced.”
The judge said Mullen was recruited as getaway driver by older, more heavily convicted criminal, McDougall, for what he thought was a robbery and was unaware McDougall was armed with a shotgun.
The judge told Mullen: “You did not intend Tipu Sultan to be shot and killed or caused any serious injury and you believed you were assisting a violent criminal in the commission of a robbery.”
Tipu was cleaning at his Herbs and Spice shop in South Shields when his killer came to the back door one night last April.
No clear motive for the attack had been established but prosecutors said it had the hallmarks of a targeted killing.
Mahsum Sultan, Tipi’s brother, read a victim impact statement to the court on behalf of the family.
He said: “The violent way Tipu was taken away from us has changed our lives beyond recognition.
“Our family is now broken and the pain felt by his loss can’t be put into words.
“No children should ever lose their father at the age of seven and two years old.
“Tipu’s death has put a great emotional strain on our family.
“Our parents no longer sleep properly, Tipu is constantly on their minds.
“My father will never get over the trauma of his son being murdered in front of him but he carries on for the sake of his family.
“My family depended on Tipu for everything, my mother is now always anxious.
“Tipu was not only the provider for his family but the protector of his family and children.
“Tipu lived for his children and was a wonderful father. His daughter was his princess.
“Knowing Tipu will never see his children grow up is really hard to bear.”
McDougall, of Hylton Avenue, South Shields, was found guilty of murder and two counts of possessing a firearm with intent.
Mullen, 25, of Hawthorne Avenue, South Shields, was found not guilty of murder, guilty of manslaughter, not guilty of possessing a firearm with intent and not guilty of conspiracy to pervert the course of justice.
After the case, Mahsum added in a statement on behalf of the family: “We will always remember Tipu as the wonderful father, son, brother and husband he was.
“We all talk about Tipu to his children every day and they will always know how much he loved them and cared for them. It brings us all some happiness to be around the children who have their father’s looks and personality.
“As a family, we would all like to thank all the witnesses that have come forward in this case, in particular the young witnesses who gave evidence. We know this must have been very difficult for you all but we are hugely grateful for your contribution to today’s verdict.
“We have been praying for justice and today we welcome the outcome. It brings a small amount of closure and peace of mind to help us move on with our lives.”
Det Ch Insp John Bent said: “We are pleased with today’s verdict. These men will behind bars for a very long time for the cold and brutal murder of a much loved member of the community.
“Our thoughts remain with Tipu’s family at this time. I hope that today’s verdict brings some justice to them however they have lost a much loved brother, son, husband and father and they have to live with that for the rest of their lives.”
Supt Sarah Pitt added: “The tragic death of Tipu Sultan had a significant impact for the people of Sunderland and South Shields and the Bangladeshi community here. We work closely with our communities to ensure their concerns and issues are listened to and action taken to help reassure our residents.
“I want to thank the Bangladeshi community in Sunderland and South Shields for their dignity and patience throughout this investigation and I hope today’s outcome helps bring some solace and closure for them.”