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Finsbury Park hitman jailed for killing Holloway shopkeeper

PUBLISHED: 11:58 19 November 2010

Michael James

Michael James

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Motorcycle assassin Michael James, 31 of Ursula Mews sentenced to life in prison

Family wedding - (L-R) Ahmet Paytak, his daughter the bride Elif Paytak, groom Tuncay Ganidagli, Ahmet's wife Ayse Paytak, their son Kemal Paytak.

A Finsbury Park hitman has been jailed for life for the murder of a shopkeeper and the attempted murder of his son in Holloway.

Michael James, 31, of Ursula Mews, drove a stolen motorcycle to the junction of Hornsey Road and Tollington Road at 10.40pm on March 22 2009 as part of a pre-planned attack.

Ahmet Paytak, who worked part-time at Euro Food and Wine, and his son Huseyin were preparing to close the convenience store when James pulled up and his pillion passenger began firing shots.

Ahmet, 50, of Skinner Street, Finsbury, was pronounced dead at the scene. Huseyin, who is now 23, suffered severe leg injuries and required hospital treatment.

CCTV image of the suspects on the bike outside the shop just before the murder

Detectives said they were innocent victims caught up in a violent feud between two rival gangs in the area and that the assassins had been recruited after a shooting in Clapton earlier that day.

A rare red and black Benelli TNT 1130cc motorcycle used to commit the offence was found in the River Lea and later traced to James.

There were only eight in London and 112 in the entire UK at the time.

James was ordered to serve a minimum of 30 years in prison yesterday after being found guilty of murder and attempted murder at Kingston Crown Court on Wednesday (November 17).

Mr Paytak’s daughter, Elif Paytak read a statement on behalf of the family, saying: “Since dad has passed away we have not been the same. It wasn’t just our dad’s life that was ruined, but all four of our lives.

“There is not one day where we haven’t thought about him.”

Investigations are ongoing.

Detective Inspector Joe Daly of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “Mr Paytak’s death was a tragic and senseless loss of life, which has devastated a family.

“We are committed to continuing our efforts to bring other suspects involved in this horrific crime to justice.”

A second man was arrested in October 2009 and remains on police bail.

A reward of £20,000 for information leading to the identification, arrest and prosecution of those responsible for the death remains on offer.

Call the incident room on 020 8345 3734 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.


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