A Brent teenager who killed a family man outside his Mill Hill shop for refusing to sell cigarette papers to him and his friends has been sentenced to four years behind bars.
The 16-year-old was sentenced today (Friday, September 7) having been convicted of manslaughter after the death of Vijaykumar Patel.
The 49-year-old died in hospital on January 8 after being assaulted by the teenager on The Broadway, at 11.45pm two days earlier.
The boy, who has not been named, was refused service by Mr Patel due to concerns over his age and licensing laws.
He later struck the innocent man on the neck outside the shop, leading him to fall and suffer catastrophic head injuries.
Detective Chief Inspector Luke Marks 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.
"I hope this conviction will bring some sense of justice to the family who have been devastated by Vijaykumar's murder. He truly was a decent, hard-working family man who in no way contributed to his own demise.
"I would like to add that the local policing team in the Mill Hill area are in regular contact with business owners and other members of the community.
"Since this attack, officers have been meeting local retailers to provide reassurance and crime prevention advice.
"Officers will continue to engage with the business community to gauge any concerns they have."
Police detectives determined that the victim had been working at the shop when three teenage boys entered and tried to buy items including cigarette papers.
They were unable to provide suitable identification when asked and were thus refused service.
Mr Patel and a colleague followed the boys outside when they became aggressive and threatened to vandalise the shop, hoping to protect the property.
At this point, the group challenged the pair to a fight and continued to abuse them.
The shop owner did not engage the boys or move towards them but was struck across the neck while waiting for them to move on, leading him to fall and suffer the head injuries that caused his death.
His colleague was punched but suffered only minor injuries, not requiring hospital treatment.
The boy was arrested two days after the attack with the help of CCTV pictures but refused to co-operate with police.
The two other boys involved in the incident were 16 and 15.
The 16-year-old was given a youth caution. The 15-year-old was released with no further action.