Tipu Sultan killing accused confessed it was 'robbery gone wrong,' court told

One of the men accused of murdering takeaway boss Tipu Sultan confessed to his girlfriend that the killing had been a "robbery gone wrong", a court heard.
Tipu Sultan.Tipu Sultan.
Tipu Sultan.

Michael Mullen told his then partner that he and co-accused Michael McDougall had planned to target Smiles newsagents, near the murder scene in South Shields, on the night of the shooting but it was closed, it is claimed.

The 24-year-old said they went to Herbs & Spice Kitchen on the motorbike he was driving and that McDougall shot the married dad during a brief stop, jurors

have been told.

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Newcastle Crown Court heard Mullen made the confession the day after the killing and warned the woman she would get her "head blown off" if she told

others what he had said.

Prosecutors reject Mullen's alleged account as an entirely truthful confession because the route the bike took on the way to the killing last April did

not pass the Smiles store and they would have been unable to see if it was open or not.

Richard Wright QC said: "Moreover, why source a motorbike and gun, mob handed to rob a newsagents or takeaway on a Tuesday night."

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Mr Wright questioned why Mullen continued to associate with the gunman after the killing of 32-year-old Mr Sultan, from Sunderland, if he had been an

innocent party.

Prosecutors claim the men acted together and went to Mullen's girlfriend's house after the shooting, where they hid the gun and dumped the bike before

heading to another woman's home where they drank lager together.

Mullen, 24, of Hawthorne Avenue, South Shields and McDougall, 47, of Hylton Avenue, South Shields, both deny murder, manslaughter and possessing a firearm with intent to endanger life.

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Mullen denies a charge of perverting the course of justice and McDougall denies a further charge of possession of a firearm.

The court heard McDougall denies being at the scene of the killing.

Mr Wright told the court Mullen made the confession to his girlfriend the day after the murder.

He said: "She said she saw Michael Mullen in the early evening and he gave her his account of what happened.

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"He said he had been at the home of McDougall and the two had had a drink.

"He said both then went out on the motorbike to commit a robbery. The target of the robbery, he said, was a newsagents called Smiles.

"However, Mullen said they had got to Smiles and found the shop shut. Thereafter, they drove around the corner to the alleyway of Herbs and

Spices, where McDougall got off the motorbike and went into the rear of the takeaway.

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"He told her McDougall had the shotgun inside his jacket. Mullen said he heard a bang and McDougall came running back.

"He went on to tell the woman his account that the killing of Tipu Sultan had been a robbery that had gone wrong.

"Mullen went on to tell her if she revealed what he had told her to anyone else she would get her head blown off.

"She said she was scared and believed him."

Both men deny all charges.The trial continues.