Pizza Driver's Killer Given 23 years

A ``habitual street robber'' who stabbed a pizza delivery driver to death for his mobile phone has been told he must serve at least 23 years in prison.

Kasim Ahmed was 17 when he attacked Thavisha Peiris, 25, who was working his last ever shift for Domino's Pizza before taking up his dream job as an IT consultant.

The teenager was on bail after breaching the conditions of a court sentence for a previous street robbery when he committed the murder, a judge was told.

Ahmed, now 18, admitted Mr Peiris's murder and was given a life sentence at Sheffield Crown Court today, along with his accomplice and cousin, Shamraze Khan, 26, who was found guilty of murder by a jury yesterday.

The judge, Mr Justice Coulson, said Khan played a secondary role in the attack in Sheffield last October but ordered him to serve a minimum of 24 years.

Ahmed and Khan, who at the time were both living at the same address in Southey Crescent, Sheffield, had robbed a teenager and her friend of mobile phones and cash just an hour before the killing of Mr Peiris.

The victim was from Sri Lanka and had come to the UK to complete a course at Sheffield Hallam University.

After graduating he was working up to 60 hours a week with Domino's to pay his family back for the expense of his studies before starting his new career.

Mr Peiris was attacked in the Southey area of Sheffield on October 27 last year after he had agreed to make one last delivery trip after complaining of being tired and wanting to go home.

He was stabbed a number of times by Ahmed after he resisted the attempt to steal his phone and, probably his satnav and cash too, the judge said.

Mr Justice Coulson said to Ahmed: ``You don't like to be challenged. It's an affront to your self-esteem. So you stabbed him. You then decided to stab him again and again.''

He noted that a pathologist found 14 different stab wounds on the victim's body, including serious injuries to his heart and neck.

``You brutally killed someone performing a form of public service just because you wanted his mobile phone,''  the judge said.

He said Ahmed's history of committing street robberies was ``truly terrible for someone so young'' and described him as a ``habitual street robber who always carries a knife with him for that purpose''.

The judge added: ``It is not fanciful to conclude that in the light of your criminal history this was a murder that was waiting to happen.''

He described Mr Peiris as an ``exceptionally pleasant and likeable young man who worked hard and had a solid future in front of him as a software engineer.''

The judge said to Ahmed: ``It was that future that you took away from him.''

He also read part of an impact statement from the victim's father in Sri Lanka which said: ``Thavisha was one of the most caring and loving sons a parent could have.

``He was full of life and always had a smile on his face.

``Anyone who met him immediately liked him. He was bright, intelligent, hard-working and energetic.''

The statement went on: ``We are now left with nothing but broken hearts.''

The judge said the statement went on to describe how the family had invested their entire retirement savings into their son's education and this is what he was working to restore.

Now, the judge said, his parents were left with no retirement income.