A pet owner who stabbed a neighbour to death after a row about dog dirt has lost an appeal against his murder conviction.

Killer who murdered neighbour over dog mess row loses appeal

By The Newsroom
Tuesday, 18th October 2011, 3:22 pm

Mustafa Elsherkisi armed himself with a large ornamental dagger before fatally wounding Mohammed Idris Mirza at a block of flats in Edinburgh.

Elsherkisi, 50, a Libyan, had denied murdering Mr Mirza, 47, in a racially aggravated crime claiming it had been “a terrible accident”, but was found guilty of the offence by a jury.

He was jailed for life and ordered to serve at least 15 years for the murder at Stenhouse Gardens North on May 26 last year.

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But lawyers acting for Elsherkisi went to the Court of Criminal Appeal in Edinburgh arguing that he had suffered a miscarriage of justice following alleged misdirections by the trial judge Roger Craik QC.

Lord Hardie, who heard the appeal with Lady Smith and Lady Cosgrove, said: “We are not persuaded that the trial judge misdirected the jury when he told them that intending to kill someone was obviously wicked.”

“While we have acknowledged that to be an inaccurate statement of the law, if viewed in the abstract, it was not a misdirection in the present case where no justification or mitigation for the killing was advanced. In such a situation the trial judge was correct to describe an intentional killing as obviously wicked,” he said.

“He clearly identified the real issue for the jury to determine as being whether they were satisfied beyond reasonable doubt that he intended to kill the deceased when he stabbed him,” said the judge.

He added: “On the assumption that the jury’s verdict should be interpreted as an acceptance by them that the appellant intended to kill deceased, no verdict other than guilty of murder was appropriate in this case having regard to the violence used and the location of the blow.”

Elsherkisi and his wife had moved into the flat beneath Mr Mirza earlier in the year. But friction built up with neighbours partly because of his Akita dog fouling common garden ground.

On the day of the attack Elsherkisi was exercising his dog but got into a confrontation with Mr Mirza. His brother Iqbal saw him arguing with Elsherkisi prior to the killing with his brother asking him to clean up dog dirt.

Elsherkisi went into his flat and Mr Mirza was persuaded to go upstairs to his home by his brother.

But Elsherkisi, a former diver, emerged from his home with the dagger and called Mr Mirza a “Paki bastard”. He then sprang at him and stabbed him in the chest inflicting an “unsurvivable” wound which damaged a major blood vessel.

The murderer had claimed at his trial at the High Court in Edinburgh that Mr Mirza fell onto the dagger and his death was the result of an unfortunate accident.