Finsbury Park assassin jailed for 30 years for Holloway shop murder

A MOTORBIKE-riding hitman has been jailed for life with a minimum of 30 years for the murder of a Holloway shopkeeper

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

Ahmet Paytak, who worked part-time at Euro Food and Wine, and his son Huseyin Paytak were preparing to close the off-licence when James sped up and his pillion passenger jumped off the bike and began shooting.

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

Detectives established the murder was the result of a dispute between rival parties in the area - a dispute in which Mr Paytak was entirely innocent.

During the early stages of the investigation an appeal was issued to identify a rare red and black Benelli TNT 1130cc used to commit the offence.

At the time of the offence, there were only 112 in the entire UK and eight in London. The large motorcycle features a distinctive twin side-by-side rear lights above the number plate.

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The motorcycle had been stolen from the Camden area on October 31, 2008.

The bike was later recovered by police in the River Lea, and as a result of enquiries it was traced to Michael James and he was arrested on July 13, 2009.

James was convicted of one count of murder and one count of attempted murder at Kingston Crown Court yesterday and was sentenced this afternoon.

Detective Inspector Joe Daly, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said: “Mr Paytak and his son were entirely innocent victims caught up in a violent feud involving rival parties.

“James drove the stolen motorcycle to and away from the murder scene. His pillion passenger carried out the actual shooting. The pair are believed to have been recruited in response to a shooting in Clapton earlier on the same day.

“Throughout the investigation James continually denied any involvement. It was only when he was presented with overwhelming evidence that he eventually admitted being the rider of the motor cycle.

“James then invented a theft scenario stating that he believed he was going to steal a quantity of drugs from a shop and had no idea his pillion passenger was armed with a gun.

“James will now face a considerable amount of time behind bars.

“Mr Paytak’s death was a tragic and senseless loss of life, which has devastated a family. The police investigation into this incident continues. We are committed to continuing our efforts to bring other suspects involved in this horrific crime to justice.

“Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3734 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.”

A man in his 20s was arrested on October 1 last year and remains on police bail.

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

Anyone with information is urged to contact the incident room on 020 8345 3734 or to remain anonymous, call Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111.