Boy, 16, charged with shop worker murder


A teenager has been charged with the murder of a shop worker who was attacked in a row over cigarette papers.

Vijay Patel, 49, was attacked in Mill Hill, north London, on Saturday after he refused to serve a group of boys due to concerns about their age.

The father-of-two, from Colindale, north London, died in hospital on Monday.

A 16-year-old boy, who has not been named, has been charged with murder and is due to appear at Willesden Magistrates' Court on Wednesday.

Police are continuing to hunt for two other suspects.

A crowd-funding appeal for Mr Patel's family raised more than £10,000 in just 12 hours.

Rabbi Yitzchak Schochet, who launched the appeal, told Sky News: "He was always so kind to everyone, that is why we have all been so disturbed by it.

Image:Flowers have been left outside the shop where Mr Patel worked

"When you see someone so regularly, it provokes a strong reaction from everyone. We come from a quiet neighbourhood. Everyone has been affected by this."

Jagmeet Sethi, 27, who has worked in the convenience shop alongside Mr Patel for almost a year, said he struggled to believe his friend could "lose his life only for one Rizla, nothing else".

"It's very hard to accept this," he said. "He's not here anymore. It is very difficult."

Mr Sethi said Mr Patel had built a reputation among customers as a "very helpful, quiet, down-to-earth" man who would help shoppers carry their bags if they were struggling.

"He was a very nice guy," he said, "a good-natured guy. If you buy something he would go with you to your car and give it to you.

"It is unacceptable to us that he is no more."

Police officers found Mr Patel lying on the pavement outside the Rota Express store after they were called at 11.45pm on Saturday, Scotland Yard said.

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He was rushed to hospital by the London Ambulance Service.

The Metropolitan Police have urged anyone with information about the incident to call 020 8358 0200 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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