“I thought that it was some kind of joke - I thought that it was going to be a water pistol to be sprayed on the waiter's face. Unfortunately not."
Witness, Donald Glue, Daily Telegraph, 15 May 2008
Michael Ross is born 28 August 1978 in the quiet Orkney community of Kirkwall. The small community of 8,500 people form the largest town on the Scottish islands where farming and fishing are the backbone of life.
Ross has a passion for guns and the military from an early age – an interest he shares with his father, Eddie, who owns a large collection of firearms. Eddie Ross had been in the army and was now the island’s policeman.
As a boy Michael is a member of the local Army Cadets and regularly takes part in shooting exercises with firearms, including pistols.
7pm, 2 June 1994
Families are enjoying a meal out in the local Indian Restaurant, Mumutaz. A man wearing a balaclava calmly opens the door and strides up to waiter Shamsuddin Mahmood. He pulls out a gun.
The adults and children eating in the popular restaurant see what is happening and believe it is a joke. Mr. Mahmood, who is working to save up the fees for a law course, has the gun aimed at his face and the trigger is pulled. The gun goes off at point blank range. The 9mm bullet passes through his 26-year-old victim's skull and lodges in the wall behind.
The masked assassin runs out through the front door with witnesses chasing after him. They back off when he stops and stares back at them.
There is no motive for the killing. The only evidence is a 9mm bullet, which, unknown to the killer, was military ammunition supplied to the British Army in 1972 and extremely unusual.
No one knows who the gun man is for another 14 years. It would take an anonymous letter from a witness to identify Michael Ross at the scene of the crime.
By then however, Michael Ross is married with two children and is a war hero after he is one of 12 soldiers decorated for outstanding service in Iraq in 2005. Ross is mentioned in dispatches for his bravery after suicide bombers in a car killed four soldiers and injured a further seven in North Babli. He is promoted to sergeant in the Black Watch sniper platoon.