Man found guilty of murdering waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar


A man has been found guilty of murdering waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar more than 17 years ago in a retrial under double jeopardy laws.

Ronnie Coulter, 48, was convicted by a majority of stabbing the 32-year-old as he returned from work in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, on November 4 1998.

The jury took around 10 hours over three days to find Coulter, of Overtown, Wishaw, guilty following a four-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow.

A string of further charges, including an accusation that Coulter forged Mr Chhokar's signature on a £100 giro cheque on the day of his death, were dropped during the trial.

Coulter denied the charges and blamed his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery for the murder. Giving evidence the pair admitted being present at the scene but denied murder.

Ronnie Coulter's sister Margaret Chisholm told the court he told her he had got away with the perfect murder.

The case is the second to be retried after Scotland's centuries-old double jeopardy law was reformed in 2011, enabling the conviction of World's End killer Angus Sinclair in 2014.

Coulter was previously acquitted when he stood trial in 1999 and Andrew Coulter and Mr Montgomery were also acquitted following a subsequent trial.

Two official inquiries were ordered after the original trials over Mr Chhokar's death. One made allegations of ''institutional racism''.

Following the publication of the reports in 2001, the then Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said the Chhokar family had been failed by the police and prosecution services.

In his last interview before his death in November 2015, Mr Chhokar's father said he his only wish was that those responsible for his son's death "face justice".