Robbery theory as man killed in stab attack on way home from work

Victim Zabihullah Rafiq

Victim Zabihullah Rafiq

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A SHEFFIELD man stabbed to death outside his home may have been ambushed in a botched robbery as he returned from work in a city pizza shop.

Zabihullah Rafiq, aged 30, was just yards away from his home when he was stabbed to death at the entrance to the Bankwood block of flats on Callow Mount, Gleadless Valley, in the early hours of Sunday.

The robbery theory is one of a number being considered by detectives searching for motives for the murder of the married-father-of-one.

They have revealed that Mr Rafiq, known as Zabi, still had some valuables on him when his body was discovered slumped on the ground by another resident returning home after a night out.

Zabi, who worked at Pizza Pronto near the Royal Hallamshire Hospital on Glossop Road, had just finished his shift and was at the entrance to his block of flats when he was attacked while his wife and 18-month-old daughter were in their home just yards away.

The passerby who discovered his body raised the alarm and paramedics battled to revive him but he was pronounced dead at the scene.

A post mortem examination revealed Zabi, who was originally from Afghanistan and had lived in the UK for 10 years, died from a single stab wound to his chest.

Detective Superintendent Andy Thompson, leading the hunt for the killer, said: “Detectives are continuing inquiries into the death of a man found with a fatal stab wound.

“Zabihullah Rafiq was found yards from his home in the Bankwood block of flats.

“Our thoughts are with Zabi’s family at this extremely difficult time and we would urge anyone who witnessed what happened to come forward and assist.

“Zabi worked at Pizza Pronto and we know he left there at 3.45am in his silver VW Golf. He arrived at Callow Mount and managed to park his car but never made it through the communal entrance door.”

DS Thompson said he is keen to speak to anyone who was in the area just before 4am, including taxi drivers and local residents who may have seen or heard anything suspicious.

“At this stage we are not sure of what the motive was so any piece of information could be crucial,” added Det Supt Thompson.

“He worked with relatives at the pizza shop and worked several nights a week from 5pm until 3am. When the shop closes the staff clean it and then travel home - it’s possible someone has been hanging around waiting for him to come back because when he was working there was a regular pattern of movement.

“We don’t know the motive but it was a brutal attack on him.

“There may be some sinister motive, it may have been a robbery, they are both possibilities we are looking into.”