Michael Ross has always maintained his innocence following his conviction in 2008 for the murder of Shamsuddin Mahmood which occurred in the Orkney Islands in 1994.
The aim of this website is to provide the facts of this case. In doing so, we hope that the public at large will come to see that the conviction of Michael Ross is a catastrophic miscarriage of justice that has destroyed a family, damaged a community and denied justice to the victim of an horrific murder.
Michael has now spent 10 years in prison. His legal options at this stage are limited; however, generous donations towards his campaign have provided an opportunity to enlist those with significant legal expertise to maximise his chances of eventually securing a further hearing at the Court of Appeal. Michael, his family and supporters are grateful that his case has attracted so much support, financial and otherwise. This gives a clear message that many people are not satisfied that justice has been served and view this conviction to be an appalling miscarriage of justice.
Tuesday 28th August – Michael’s 40th Birthday
Michael has now spent a quarter of his life locked up in prison for a crime he says he did not commit. The evidence against him was weak and circumstantial and can all be discredited. We know that some people that were involved with the original police investigation and the subsequent cold-case review have information that could turn this case around and potentially lead to the murder conviction being quashed. We cannot be specific because soliciting information from identified individuals would limit the potential for using new evidence. We would beg anyone that has relevant information to come forward to Michael’s legal team, Aamer Anwar and Co. Other miscarriages of justice have been rectified because of those that have come forward and, in cases like this, it’s rare that anyone presenting would get into trouble themselves. We believe that there are huge concerns with the integrity of the entire police investigation into the murder of Shamsuddin Mahmood, and those concerns have also been raised in the media by others:
“I suspect that, given the opportunity to do things again, some aspects of the police investigation might be done differently. The information you placed before the Commission went into this subject in some detail and highlighted a number of issues surrounding the descriptions offered by witnesses and the conduct of the police investigation. I think that these are very legitimate concerns”
Alistair Carmichael MP for Orkney and Shetland, quoted in Herald Scotland on 14 September 2016
“I took on this case because after meeting Michael and examining the papers it became clear there were significant concerns with regards to the murder investigation as well as over his conviction.”
Aamer Anwar quoted in ‘the Press and Journal’ on 21 June 2018
On 13th July it was reported in ‘the Sun’ that Michael had made a third attempt to escape from prison. There follows a recent statement from Michael Ross:
Wednesday 20th June 2018 – 10 Year Public Appeal for Information
Michael Ross has now spent a decade in prison, wrongly convicted of murder. We have reason to believe that there are individuals that have information that could shed light onto aspects of the police investigation that focused on Michael Ross and led to his conviction. We also believe that there may be persons that have information relevant to the murder of Shamsuddin Mahmood. These individuals may have been apprehensive about becoming involved or may have given information to the police already. They could be witnesses, members of the Orkney community, ex-police personnel or those involved with the trial in May and June 2008. We urge anyone that has relevant information to come forward to Michael’s lawyers Aamer Anwar & Co, who are in the process of investigations in relation to the conviction of Michael Ross. Any person presenting will be treated with respect, discretion, sensitivity and professionalism.
Read more about Aamer Anwar & Co HERE. Contact their office as follows:
30 August 2018
Over 20 years ago on 2nd June 1994, at just after 7pm in the evening, a masked man calmly entered the Mumutaz Indian restaurant in the small town of Kirkwall in the Orkney Islands. He walked up to a young waiter named Shamsuddin Mahmood and shot him at point blank range in the head. The restaurant was busy with customers, including young children.
The gunman was masked and unrecognisable. He was confident and quick. He never faltered and was able to make good his escape by running away down the lane to the right of the restaurant never to be seen again.
The Orkney Islands are situated six miles north of the Scottish mainland. The peaceful island community had a population of around 20,000 in 1994 and, at that time, there hadn’t been a murder there for 26 years. A murder inquiry team were brought north from Inverness to take over the responsibility for the investigation.
Early reports indicated that police were looking for a ‘man’ and there was speculation that the murder resembled a contract killing. Eyewitness testimony led the police to issue a description of the gun-man as aged in his late 20’s, approximately 5’8” – 6’ tall, with “hunched” or rounded shoulders, a body builders pose and confident stride.
In June 1994, Michael Ross was just 15 years old. He could have been no taller than 5’7½ then, because this is the height that he is today, as a grown man. This is a photograph of Michael and his younger brother taken in 1995 when he was 16, several months after the murder of Mr Mahmood .
His brother, also featured, is 20 months younger than Michael and would have been around 14 years old. It is clear that he has overtaken Michael in height. The decorative block in the wall next to Michael is 12″ or a foot square, therefore it is possible to roughly estimate Michael’s height as around 5’7″. There is no documented source stating his height in June 1994 the previous year; however you will find video footage of young Michael in the MEDIA section of the website.
At an early point in the investigation, police began to suspect Michael Ross of the crime. He had been seen and recognised in a wooded area of Kirkwall on 19th May 1994, 2 weeks prior to the murder wearing a balaclava.
His father, Eddy Ross, who was a policeman, found one full sealed box of bullets within his stocks similar to those used in the crime.
He voluntarily handed them in to colleagues at the police station on 12th August 1994, 10 weeks after the crime. At that time, Eddy had served in the police force for 20 years with an unblemished record. He was also an amateur gun enthusiast, gun club member, firearms licence holder and army cadet leader. He’d served in the army for 5 years prior to joining the police.
Police prepared a report on Michael Ross for the Procurator Fiscal in July 1995; however, charges were never brought against him because there was insufficient evidence. Rumours and gossip were rife in the small community. Eddy Ross was convicted of ‘Perverting the Course of Justice’ in May 1997 in connection with the bullets he had voluntarily submitted to the investigation. He served 2 years of a 4 year prison sentence.
Michael Ross went on and built a life for himself. He went into the Black Watch Regiment and rose to the rank of sergeant. He married and had two daughters. He was well liked and popular in his regiment just as he’d been well liked at school and by his neighbours and friends in Orkney. He received a mention in ‘Despatches’ for bravery in Iraq, where he saw heavy combat and lost close friends.
In September 2006 an ‘eyewitness’ presented an anonymous letter to Orkney police, 12 years after the murder of Shamsuddin Mahmood. He told police that he’d seen Michael Ross on the evening of the murder in the Kiln Corner public toilets near the crime scene wearing a balaclava and holding a gun. He also claimed he’d seen Michael Ross a few weeks earlier shouting racist abuse and threats of violence outside the Mumutaz restaurant. Neither he nor anyone else had reported either event to police at the time or from 1994 to 2006.
On 20 June 2008, 14 years after the crime, Michael Ross was convicted of murder at the High Court in Glasgow. He is currently serving a life sentence. There was no connection between Michael Ross and the victim. There was no forensic evidence to connect him to the crime. There was not one single eyewitness that could place him anywhere near the crime scene from 1994 – 2006.
Michael is currently serving a life sentence for murder at Shotts Prison in Lanarkshire. Every attempt he has made to clear his name has been blocked. Eddy Ross, now retired, currently serves as Chairman for the Kirkwall branch of the Royal British Legion Scotland.
The support that Michael and his family have received from the Orkney community and beyond has kept them going in their fight to clear the names of the father and son whose lives have been tarnished by the tragedy of wrongful conviction.
We hope that you will make time to read and absorb the information contained on this website and join Michael and his family in their fight against this miscarriage of justice.
Thank-you for taking an interest.
All information given on this site is factual, thoroughly researched and can be verified with supporting documentation. Further information will be added to the site in due course.
HOW YOU COULD HELP
- Spread the word about the case across social media and by speaking to your friends, family and acquaintances
- Write to your MP and MSP as well as the Justice Secretary of Scotland to express concern about the conviction
- Sign the PETITION requesting action from the Justice Secretary of Scotland
- Ask your trade union, church group or community group to take an interest – speak to J4MR about providing a presentation on the facts of the case
- Write to Michael: Michael Ross 108649, HMP Shotts, Canthill Road, New Mains, Lanarkshire ML7 4LE