Man arrested in Marseilles over dad’s fatal stabbing

South Yorkshire Police handout pic of Zabihullah Rafiq who was stabbed outside Bankwood flats in Callow Mount, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield on Sunday May 29, 2011. ''send in
South Yorkshire Police handout pic of Zabihullah Rafiq who was stabbed outside Bankwood flats in Callow Mount, Gleadless Valley, Sheffield on Sunday May 29, 2011. ''send in

DETECTIVES investigating the murder of a Sheffield dad who was stabbed to death just yards from his front door have arrested a man in France in connection with the killing.

The man was arrested in Marseilles on the south coast of France in connection with the ongoing murder investigation into the death of Zabihullah Rafiq.

Mr Rafiq, aged 30, was knifed to death outside his home in Callow Mount, Gleadless Valley, in the early hours of May 29.

French police arrested the 19-year-old man in Marseilles on Friday evening after a Sheffield district judge issued a European Arrest Warrant. Such a warrant can only be issued if there is enough evidence to charge an individual with an offence.

A South Yorkshire Police spokesman said: “The South Yorkshire Police major investigation team is presently preparing extradition papers in conjunction with the French authorities to have the man repatriated to the United Kingdom, where he will attend Crown Court charged with the murder of Zabi Rafiq.

“The extradition process is expected to take between two and three weeks to complete. Detectives are also trying to trace another man who is known to have left the UK in connection with this investigation.”

Mr Rafiq was married to his Kosovan wife Syrafete, 23, and the couple have an 18-month old daughter called Maryam.

He died from a single knife wound to the chest, inflicted at around 4am on Friday, May 29, as he made his way home to Callow Mount, Gleadless, after finishing his shift at the Pronto Pizza takeaway on Glossop Road.

Mr Rafiq, who was also known as Zabi, was originally from Afghanistan but moved to the UK for a ‘safer life’. He met his wife 10 years ago.

His body was flown back to his homeland following his death.

Speaking at a press conference last month, she said: “Zabi was a much-loved husband and father.

“I am very sorry that he has been taken away from me and my daughter. He was hard working and well liked and he will be missed by his family and friends,” she added.

Mr Rafiq was killed outside the entrance to the Bankwood tower block.

A team of 40 detectives has been working around the clock in an effort to crack the case.

Police believed the murder could have happened as part of a botched robbery.