VIDEO - Rotherham community left to mourn loss of ‘true family man’

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A killer knifed a butcher to death and left a shopworker fighting for his life before wielding a machete on a terrifying rampage through the streets of Rotherham.

The victim - named as Parvaiz Iqbal, a dad aged 40 - owned the Bismillah Food Store and Halal butchers on Grosvenor Road, Eastwood.

People gather on a road adjacent to Grosvenor Road, Rotherham.

People gather on a road adjacent to Grosvenor Road, Rotherham.

He was stabbed to death at his shop before his attacker turned on another member of staff at the store, leaving him with serious injuries.

Terrified worshippers who had just attended a service at the local mosque discovered the horror unfolding, and tried in vain to save Mr Iqbal’s life.

They dialled 999 as the knifeman then fled through Eastwood and Rotherham town centre with a bloody machete, smashing car and shop windows as he went.

A suspect was eventually caught by police with Tasers in front of aghast passers-by, in a Tesco car park a mile away.

A 27-year-old man was last night being questioned on suspicion of murder.

Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin, leading the investigation, said the tragedy was a ‘shocking event - that thankfully doesn’t occur every day in Rotherham’.

Friends of the shopkeeper - known locally as Parv - described him as a family man who was ‘courteous, kind and always smiling’.

One local, who did not wish to be identified, said: “Apparently Parv was bent down near the fridge and the guy stabbed him six times. You just can’t believe it.”

Omar Mehban, aged 21, who used to live on Grosvenor Road, told The Star the Bismillah Food Store was ‘the most popular Halal butchers in Rotherham’.

He said the Mr Iqbal ran the shop with his brother, and was married with children. “He always had a smile for everyone, he was courteous and kind. Everybody loved talking to him. He enjoyed banter with his customers and was such a good man,” he said.

“Every time I went into the shop he would chat and make people feel welcome.

“I would say about 60 per cent of the local Muslim community use the shop to get their meat, it’s been there for a long time.

“I don’t understand why this has happened. He should be celebrating Eid with his wife and kids, instead they are faced with this.

“The last time I was in there he was telling me about his children. I’m heartbroken for his family.”

As locals tried to help at the shop, the knifeman was rampaging on foot from Eastwood towards the Tesco supermarket on Forge Lane, shouting and waving a machete in front of him.

John Knowles, aged 75, from Swallownest, was out shopping when he saw the drama unfold.

“I was going into Tesco at about 2.30pm when a man ran right past me,” he said.

“He was shouting what sounded like, ‘Get away, get away’, and he had a machete or a long knife of some kind. It was about 24 or 30 inches long.

“He was very fast on his feet, and about eight or nine policemen were chasing him.”

Mr Knowles added: “I could see the side edge of the blade. He was wearing a light or white coloured shirt and jogging bottoms. He didn’t look crazed exactly, but very aggressive.”

Yousif Taha, 31, who lives near to Grosvenor Road, said he saw a man being tackled by police in the Tesco car park.

“He was carrying a large machete, he looked completely mad,” he said.

“It wasn’t until I got home and saw the crowds gathered on the streets near my house that I found out what had happened.

“Apparently he barged into the shop on Grosvenor Road and stabbed and killed the shop owner, a lovely man. He was a family man and always so pleasant to everybody. This has shocked everybody in this community.

“He also stabbed another man who was in the shop. What kind of person can do something like this?”

Abdul Qayum, another friend of the victim, said he was a ‘good man and very popular’, and added: “I saw him just yesterday. This is a tragedy.”

Hundreds of people gathered in the streets around Grosvenor Road yesterday evening and there was a heavy police presence in the area, with forensics officers in white suits combing the scene for evidence.

Police left a trail of numbered cards up the street.

A spokeswoman for South Yorkshire Police said officers were called to Grosvenor Road shortly after 2pm yesterday.

“A murder investigation has been launched after a man was found fatally injured in Eastwood, Rotherham,” she said.

“One man was found dead and a second man seriously injured. The second man has been taken to hospital where he remains, undergoing treatment.

“A 27-year-old man has been arrested on suspicion of murder and is currently in police custody.

“At present there is a large police presence is in the area and this will remain in place to reassure residents.”

At a press conference held late last night at Main Street police station in Rotherham, Chief Superintendent Jason Harwin confirmed: “Police have launched a murder investigation.

“Officers were called to a shop on Grosvenor Road where a male was found deceased and another male found injured.

“A 27-year-old male has been arrested on suspicion of murder in the town centre following calls from the public. That person is now in police custody.

“We are keen to establish what has happened first, and speak with family and relatives.

“The individual arrested was in possession of a weapon, though we cannot release details of that at this time.

“Our priority is supporting the family.

“This is a tragic and shocking event that thankfully doesn’t occur every day in Rotherham.

“People with information should contact the incident room as a matter of urgency on 0114 296 3014.”