A man who murdered a restaurant owner who gave him a job and accommodation almost four decades ago has finally been jailed for the murder.

63-year-old Riasat Khan, who was 23-years-old at the time, stabbed Kazi Ahmed several times in the neck and chest and then tied him up at a flat in Aberdeen on 13 October 1978 before fleeing to Pakistan.

He returned to the UK in the mid-1980s but managed to stay under the radar until May last year.

He was eventually arrested as he tried to board a flight at Birmingham airport last year, over 37 years after the murder.

During the trial Khan claimed Mr Ahmad wanted to perform sex acts on him and said he stabbed Mr Ahmad in self-defence.

Khan, from Cardiff, was convicted following a trial at the high court in Edinburgh and was ordered to serve at least 16 years.

The judge said: “Justice has been delayed but justice has not been denied. The excellent work done by police officers, forensic scientists and pathologists in 1978 stood the test of time, leading to your conviction for murder in 2017.

“Had you been arrested in 1978 you would no doubt have been convicted of murder with the sentence of life imprisonment and may well have been released by now. Instead your actions have allowed you to spend the best years of your adult life in freedom.”

“You inflicted wounds he could not have survived. However, rather than seeking medical assistance for him, your own evidence was that you tied him up and left the scene. I infer that you locked the door to his room as you departed. You took his money, gambled away £900 and fled abroad.

“As a result of your vicious assault Mr Ahmad lost his life at the age of 41 and his family whom he was supporting lost him for ever. You, on the other hand, remained at liberty for more than 37 years before you were arrested.”

Advocate depute Murdoch MacTaggart, prosecuting, told the court that although an arrest warrant had been issued in 1978, efforts to trace him had no success.

Gary Allan QC, defending Khan, said his client had been living in the UK since the mid-1908s openly and was even registered with various public authorities.

Allan said Khan felt remorse for his actions: “He is very sorry that at his hands the deceased died and he is very sorry for the distress which he acknowledges must have been suffered by the family of the deceased. He wishes matters could have been very different.”

Allan added: “He understands he will have this life sentence and he understands that in view of his age and health there is a significant risk he will die in prison.”