Teenage 'time bomb' locked up over Rizla argument death

Vijaykumar Patel. Photo credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
Vijaykumar Patel. Photo credit: Metropolitan Police/PA Wire
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A teenage "time bomb" has been locked up for four years for killing a shopkeeper who refused to sell him Rizla papers.

The 16-year-old boy "launched" himself at Vijaykumar Patel, 49, causing a "catastrophic" head injury in an unprovoked attack outside the minimarket in Mill Hill, north London.

The youth, from Brent, had claimed self defence but was found guilty of manslaughter following an Old Bailey trial.

The court heard the boy, who has ADHD and low intelligence, had previous convictions for weapons and kicking and punching a teacher at his school.

And at the time of the killing, he had been on bail and was in breach of a curfew.

Philippa McAtasney, QC, argued in mitigation that the boy was "not beyond hope and help".

She said he had been affected by the stabbing of a youth worker friend who had confronted a drug dealer, she said.

The boy, who cannot be named for legal reasons, had used his "best handwriting" to express his remorse in a letter to the judge.

However, Mr Justice Stuart-Smith said: "He is a time bomb. The record, the facts of this case, the contents of the PSR (pre-sentence report) with the analysis of very high risk of causing significant harm. I do not find the PSR surprising at all."

He sentenced the boy to an extended sentence of four years' detention and a further three years on licence.

The court heard the teenager had five alcoholic drinks at a party earlier on the evening of January 6.

He went into the shop with two friends and tried to buy cigarette papers, but they were sent away for being under 18.

The jury was told he became aggressive and shouted abuse before hurling himself at Mr Patel outside the shop.

The attack was captured on CCTV and it was possible to see the moment Mr Patel was hit.

Mr Justice Stuart-Smith told the defendant: "The CCTV shows he was simply standing with his hands in his pockets doing nothing.

"What happened next was that you deliberately moved to the left and launched yourself at Mr Patel taking him off his feet and to the ground. He was completely defenceless and did not move - you struck him."

Another shop worker then chased the boys away with a billboard sign and a broom.

The boys were seen laughing, joking and happy as they fled the scene, the court heard.

Mr Patel was found by police unconscious and bleeding in the street on January 6.

He was rushed to St Mary's Hospital in central London and died the next day from an injury to the back of his head.

The court heard no victim impact statement had been prepared as the Patel family was in India.