LONDON: A 16-year-old boy has appeared in court accused of the murder of a shop worker. Vijay Patel, 49, was attacked at the Rota Express convenience store in Mill Hill, north London, shortly before midnight on Saturday.
The father-of-two was assaulted after an argument over cigarette papers. He died in hospital on Monday. The boy, who is from Brent in north-west London but cannot be identified, was charged on Tuesday. He will appear at the Old Bailey on 12 January. He spoke only to confirm his identity and address at Willesden Magistrates’ Court. Detectives arrested the boy on suspicion of murder late on Monday, 8 January. He was taken to a north London police station where he remains in custody.
Police have issued CCTV stills of two males they wish to trace as part of this investigation. Detective Inspector Ian Lott of the Homicide and Major Crime Command leads the investigation and said: “We are releasing CCTV images of two male youths who were in the shop during the initial dispute and were outside at the time Vijay Patel was assaulted.
“This was an unprovoked and wholly unnecessary attack on a man who was just trying to do his job. It is vitally important that these two males are traced as they undoubtedly have information that could assist our investigation. “While one male has been charged with Vijay’s murder, Is till need the public’s help to ensure all those who were involved in this incident are identified and held to account for their actions.” Detectives have established that Vijay had been at work in the shop on the evening of Saturday, 6 January, together with the owner of the shop. Three teenage boys came into the shop and tried to buy some items including cigarette papers. Due to concerns about their age they were refused service after they were unable to provide suitable identification.
The three were unhappy about the decision and became aggressive, threatening to vandalise the shop. As such Vijay and a colleague went outside after them to ensure no damage was done to the shop. Vijay was struck once by one of the teenagers causing him to fall to the floor.
The colleague was also punched by the teenagers. He suffered minor injuries, but did not require hospital treatment The three were seen to run off along The Broadway in the direction of Mill Hill Broadway Station.
The two males police wish to trace have been described as: – Suspect 1 – a black male teenager wearing a red sweatshirt, black jeans and white trainers. – Suspect 2 – a black male teenager wearing a dark coloured hooded sweatshirt or jacket and dark coloured jeans- he was wearing a Nike rucksack. Anyone with any information about the identity of the two suspects or their current whereabouts is asked to contact the Incident Room on 020 8358 0200, or call Crime stoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.