Teenager guilty of murdering shopkeeper

Wednesday 11th July 2018 09:36 EDT
 

A 16-year-old boy from Brent who attacked and killed a family man outside his shop after he refused to sell him cigarette papers has been found guilty of his murder.

Vijaykumar Patel, 49, was working at his shop on The Broadway, in Mill Hill, when three teenage boys came in and tried to buy some items, including cigarette papers, on Saturday, January 6. He had concerns about their age and refused to serve them because they could not provide suitable identification.

A Metropolitan Police spokesman said the trio were unhappy about the decision and became aggressive, threatening to vandalise the shop.

Mr Patel, who was from the Colindale area, and a colleague went outside after them to ensure no damage was caused but the teenager continued to be aggressive challenging the pair to a fight and being abusive.

The youngster then struck Mr Patel with force across the neck, causing him to fall to the ground and suffer catastrophic head injuries. The colleague was also punched by the teenagers. He suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospital treatment.

London Ambulance Service (LAS) paramedics were called to the shop and they then contacted Met Police colleagues who attended at 11.45pm.

Mr Patel was taken to a central London hospital for treatment but died during the evening of Monday, January 8. A post-mortem examination held at Northwick Park Hospital Mortuary gave the provisional cause of Mr Patel's death as head injuries.

Detective chief inspector Luke Marks, from the Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: "It beggars belief that a family man with two kids has lost his life over an argument about cigarette papers that got out of hand.

"This was an unprovoked spontaneous incident sparked entirely by the refusal to let the suspects buy what they wanted. A man has lost his life for no reason other than trying to uphold the law, which is there to protect everyone - including young people.

"I would like to praise the work of the team who built a strong case, and the victim's family and friends who have conducted themselves with the utmost dignity.

"Vijaykumar was a loving son, brother, father and husband, and his family are left mourning his death, wondering how someone could use such abhorrent and casual violence.

The Met's Homicide and Major Crime Command launched an investigation, with forensic analysis completed at the scene and CCTV footage gained from inside and outside the shop.

The teenager was arrested on January 8 but refused to cooperate with police and answered "no comment" to even the most basic questions put to him. He was convicted of murdering Mr Patel on Monday, July 9.

Two other boys - aged 16 and 15 - were arrested after they attended a central London police station on January 10.

The 16-year-old was given a youth caution for a Section 4 Public Order Act in relation to his actions towards the shop owner and witness. ­The 15-year-old was released with no further action taken.


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