The three teenage thugs who killed a man for his BlackBerry faced major prison sentences at the Old Bailey today. They had followed their victim from the bus stop as he talked on the phone to a friend then attacked him in a quiet suburban street in Thornton Heath. Saravanakumar Sellappan, 24, was taken to the Mayday hospital in Croydon but told doctors only that he had fallen down stairs.
They discharged him after nothing more than a “cursory” four minute examination and gave him a leaflet on head injuries. But just hours later he collapsed from bleeding inside his skull and went in an irreversible coma. He was taken to St George’s hospital, Tooting where he died the day after the attack in October last year.
Jegir Ahmmadi, 19, an Iranian of Croydon, Awat Muradi, 18 also Iranian, and Roshan Samedov, 18 both of Croydon, were convicted of robbery and manslaughter. They will be sentenced next month but Judge Michael Mettyear told them they faced substantial prison terms. During the trial Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, told the jury Mr Sellappan had just finished work at a petrol station near Coulsden and was on his way home.
He said: “He had the tragic misfortune to walk past the spot where the three defendants were. They followed him until he turned into a quiet residential street. “He was then struck on the head by at least one blow delivered with sufficient ferocity to knock him to the ground and within hours as a result of brain injuries he had fallen into a coma.
“It was the BlackBerry which attracted those who were tracking the victim. “The truth is that they collectively did what they knew to be necessary to achieve their serious criminal purpose. It is the equivalent of hunting in a pack.” At the hospital the victim was reluctant to tell the police what had happened because he did not want his family in India worrying about him.
Mr Jafferjee said: “What happened at the hospital may raise some question marks. “He might be forgiven for thinking that for falling down a flight of stairs he would receive the same medical examination. What he did receive was a plainly cursory examination.
“The doctor on duty will explain that according to her he showed no signs of trauma. It is a recognised phenomenon that despite suffering severe head injury there is an interval of lucidity. “Be that as it may the pain he would have been suffering from was the pain of a fractured skull with underlying brain injury.”
When the three killers were arrested they blamed each other for the attack, the court heard.