Teenager charged over death of shopkeeper after 'cigarette row'

The Telegraph 7 months ago

Police who launched a murder investigation have charged a teenager over the death of a shopkeeper who was  allegedly killed following a row with a group of youths over cigarette papers.

Vijay Patel, 49, a married father of two, was working at a convenience store in Mill Hill, north London, when he died on Saturday night.

Scotland Yard said a line of enquiry was that Mr Patel had allegedly been set upon by the group outside the shop after they became angry that he would not serve them cigarette papers, because he believed they were under 18 years of age.

Last night, a 16-year-old boy who was arrested as part of the investigation on Monday was charged with his murder and will appear at Willesden Magistrates' Court this morning.

Police continue to hunt for the other suspects. A Met Police spokesman said last night: "The Homicide and Major Crime Command continue to investigate and appeal for information about the events leading up to the incident which resulted in Mr Patel's death. It is believed that three people were involved in the incident."

Mr Patel was critically injured and died in hospital on Monday afternoon.

It is understood he had moved to London from India in 2006 to try to give his wife, Vibha, and two sons a better life. His brother, Prakash, said he worked extremely hard and sent money back home to help fund his children’s education. One of his sons lives in India, while the other one is studying computer engineering in Australia. 

Mr Patel was killed after a group of youths entered the shop on The Broadway in Mill Hill late on Saturday evening, and had attempted to buy several items, police said.

The shop’s owner suffered minor injuries when he was punched by the teenagers, who ran off in the direction of Mill Hill Broadway station.

Members of the public stepped in to help Mr Patel, giving him first aid before the arrival of police and paramedics, who were called at about 11.45pm.

Scotland Yard said officers found Mr Patel lying on the pavement outside the shop. They have appealed for witnesses or anyone who knows the identity of the youths to contact them.

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