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Man sentenced to life for brutal murder of PHV driver in Solihull

Updated: Oct 1, 2023

Image credit: West Midlands Police

Oliver Pugh, 20, has been sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 27 years for the murder of private hire vehicle (PHV) driver Mohammed Istakhar.

The killing, which occurred in Solihull last November, left the community shocked and devastated.

The court proceedings revealed that Mr Istakhar, 44, had picked up Pugh and another man in his PHV from Birmingham city centre. Approximately 30 minutes later, CCTV footage captured the two men chasing Mr Istakhar towards Lady Lane in Solihull. Minutes later, they were seen returning alone to the victim's cab.

Authorities later recovered CCTV footage which showed the pair removing the PHV livery and number plates from Mr. Istakhar's vehicle outside Pugh's house. The cab was then driven to Malpit Close, where it was eventually found and seized for investigation. Shockingly, Mr Istakhar's phone was believed to have been thrown from the moving car during their escape.

Tragically, Mr. Istakhar was discovered with serious injuries on Braggs Farm Road, but despite efforts to save him, he ultimately lost his life.

The investigation took a critical turn when Pugh's passport was found in Mr Istakhar's pocket. A wanted appeal was subsequently issued for Pugh, leading to his eventual arrest in a caravan in Derbyshire. During police interviews, both Pugh and his accomplice denied any involvement in the murder, each pointing the finger at the other.

Yesterday, at Birmingham Crown Court, justice was served as Pugh received a life sentence. With a minimum term of 27 years, the court acknowledged the severity and brutality of the murder, bringing a measure of closure to the grieving family and friends of Mr. Istakhar.

Detective Inspector Michelle Thurgood from the Homicide Team, said: “This was a horrific attack on a father who was out working that night to provide for his family. “Earlier that evening, Pugh had also assaulted other men for no apparent reason. He was clearly intent on causing harm to others that night. “Our thoughts remain with Mr Istakhar’s family and I hope this sentence can bring them some closure.”


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