A COLD-BLOODED double murderer who shot a Bradford taxi driver in the head in a ruthlessly-planned revenge execution was today sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum term of 31 years and 312 days behind bars.

Ricardo Linton was 26 when he gunned down father-of-four Mohammed Basharat while on the run for a similar remorseless killing in New York when he was a teenager.

Now 46, he will not be eligible for release until he is 77 years old, Bradford Crown Court heard today.

Linton, who was extradited from the United States by West Yorkshire Police to stand his trial, was convicted by a jury on August 11 of gunning down Mr Basharat in the offices of Little Horton Private Hire on the evening of Saturday, October 20, 2001.

He was also found guilty of attempting to murder fellow taxi driver Jamshad Khan and sentenced to 30 years for that offence, the prison term to run concurrently.

Mr Khan was only saved when Linton’s gun failed, the court was told.

During the month-long trial the jury heard that Mr Basharat, 33, was struck by two bul-lets, in the head and the mouth, and died where he lay.

Linton, who was dressed in black and wearing a balaclava, did not speak before pointing his revolver at Mr Basharat and twice pulling the trigger, causing what prosecutor Rich-ard Wright QC, described as “a devastating and inevitably fatal head injury.”

He is currently serving a sentence of “25 years to life” for murdering Jose Rosa in Brooklyn in a similar execution-type shooting to the head in January, 1993.

His earliest release date from that sentence was May, 2029, but he might never be freed, the court was told.

Linton was 17 when he committed that crime and he had already been convicted of possession of a gun when he was a juvenile.

Mr Rosa was murdered in a stationary car by Linton who shot him three times without saying a word. He then fired a single final round into his head and walked away.

He had now been behind bars for 18 years and 53 days after he was arrested in his na-tive Jamaica for Mr Rosa’s murder.

Today, Mr Wright said Mr Basharat’s murder was an execution killing that arose out of a premeditated desire for revenge.

Linton had “a settled intention to kill,” fleeing the country immediately afterwards.

During the trial, the court heard that Linton vanished from Bradford on the day Mr Basharat was murdered, leaving behind his possessions at his flat in the city.

The family of Mr Basharat had made a victim personal statement but did not want it reading out in court.

Joe Stone QC, Linton’s barrister, said he had previously handed in detailed written legal submissions. He urged Mr Justice Lavender not to impose a whole life jail term, saying it was a very rare order, with just 63 prisoners in the United Kingdom currently subject to it out of the more than 80,000 behind bars.

Mr Justice Lavender said Mr Basharat’s killing was “a targeted execution” in the taxi office.

His son, who was 13 at the time, had made a moving statement that he did not wish to be read out in court.

Mr Justice Lavender said Mr Basharat was murdered in a revenge attack after a road rage incident near the taxi office.

“He was killed after a fight with Mr Basharat over a damaged wing mirror,” he said.

Linton had entered the UK using a false name and while on the run from the United States police.

He was dealing crack cocaine in Bradford, sourcing it by the “brick” from London.

Mr Justice Lavender told Linton: “There are no mitigating factors.”

After he had sentenced him he ordered: “Take him away.”

He commended the police investigation team that included the then Detective Inspector Steve Snow of the Homicide and Major Enquiry team who named Linton as being wanted on suspicion of Mr Basharat’s murder.

Speaking after today’s sentencing Detective Chief Inspector Vanessa Rolfe, said: “I hope this outcome will bring some closure for the family and friends of Mr Basharat, knowing his killer has finally been brought to justice.

“The investigation team have worked tirelessly for years tracing witnesses from all over the world, to piece together this challenging case and make every effort to ensure the extradition and conviction of Linton.

“Linton tried twice to escape justice for his crimes but his past has now caught up with him and he is likely to spend the rest of his life behind bars. 

“I also hope this demonstrates that West Yorkshire Police never closes a murder case until it is solved and that violent criminals like Linton will be pursued until they are brought to justice for their horrific crimes, no matter where in the world they are.”