Murderer Oliver Pugh jailed for life for fatal stabbing Solihull taxi driver Mohammed Istakhar
Oliver Pugh stabbed Solihull taxi driver Mohammed Istakhar to death near Earlswood
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The man who brutally stabbed a Solihull taxi driver to death has been jailed for life. Oliver Pugh, aged 20, was found guilty of killing Mohammed Istakhar in July.
Today (Friday, September 22), at Birmingham Crown Court, Pugh was sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 27 years.
Mr Istakhar, aged 44, was found with serious injuries on 29 November 2022 on Braggs Farm Road. Sadly, nothing could be done to save him. Hours before, he had picked up Pugh and another man in his taxi from Birmingham city centre. The pair had gone foa night out.
After leaving Rosies nightclub Pugh asked a woman he met there if she was a snitch and then said “I am going to rob a taxi”. Jurors were told Mr Istakhar, “had the misfortune” of picking up the pair as a fare. Almost half an hour later they were captured on CCTV, chasing Mr Istakhar towards Lady Lane in Solihull, near Earlswood Lakes.
Minutes later, CCTV showed the pair returning alone to Mr Istakhar’s taxi. As it was driven away from the scene, CCTV captured an item, believed to be Mr Istakhar’s phone, being thrown from the car.
The taxi was captured pulling up outside Pugh’s house where both men got out and removed the taxi livery and number plates. It was later driven to Malpit Close, where it was recovered by police for tests When Mr Istakhar’s body was discovered, Pugh’s passport was found in his pocket.
A wanted appeal was issued for Pugh and following a number of leads from the public he was arrested hiding in a caravan in Derbyshire. During an interview, both denied any involvement in Mr Istakhar’s death, suggesting that the other was to blame.
Jailing him, Judge Simon Drew KC said: “It is perfectly clear you were intent on causing trouble that evening and engaged in repeated acts of unprovoked violence. There can be no other reason why you directed him to that remote rural location when you got the knife from the caravan.
“You stabbed him in the chest and when he managed to escape from the taxi and ran down the road you hunted him down and when you caught up with him, despite the fact he was bleeding, delivered a further serious wound. You offered him no support. Nor did you seek any help. You took his car and his keys and you pulled away from the scene as fast as you could. At one point you drove through a hedge and into a field so desperate were you to get away.”
Co-defendant Luca de Fazio, 18, of no fixed address, was cleared of murder. He previously admitted having a knife and was jailed for a month.
‘A horrific attack on a father’
Detective Inspector Michelle Thurgood from West Midlands Police 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.”