• Monday, March 27, 2023


Two boys convicted of Afghan Sikh teen’s ‘cold-blooded’ murder in UK: ‘Rishmeet was in wrong place at wrong time’


By: India Weekly Staff

Two teenage boys have been found guilty of murdering a 16-year-old Afghan Sikh refugee in London who they thought belonged to a rival gang, according to Scotland Yard.

Vanushan Balakrishnan and Ilyas Suleiman — both 18 — were convicted for the murder of Rishmeet Singh “in cold blood” on Monday following a trial at the Old Bailey court in London.

The duo will be sentenced at the same court next month.

“Rishmeet was an innocent, young 16-year-old who had his whole life ahead of him. He had just spent an enjoyable evening with his friends and was making the short walk home when he was callously chased down and knifed to death by Balakrishnan and Suleiman,” said detective inspector Laura Semple, from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command.

The police said that between them, the two teens stabbed Singh 15 times while he was “defenceless on the floor”.

“There is never an excuse to murder someone in cold blood, but this case is made even more tragic by the fact that Rishmeet was wrongly targeted by his attackers. Balakrishnan and Suleiman left the flat that day with the intention of ending someone’s life,” said Semple.

“Poor Rishmeet was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time. My thoughts remain with Rishmeet’s family and friends, who have shown extraordinary courage throughout, including during the trial where they were forced to re-live Rishmeet’s horrific last moments,” she added.

During the trial it emerged that Rishmeet Singh came to the UK in October 2019 with his mother and grandmother to seek asylum from Jalalabad in Afghanistan. His father was killed by the Taliban six months prior to that, and shortly after they tried to kidnap Rishmeet – forcing the family to flee to the UK.

In a statement, Rishmeet’s mother Gulinder said, “Rishmeet was my only child, and he had his whole life ahead of him. No words could ever explain or put into context how I have felt since Rishmeet was taken from us. He has been raised with so much love and now he’s gone. I am struggling to understand as to how and why this happened to my baby boy. I feel I have lost everything and my life is over.

“I will never get over losing him in this way. I will not see him grow up into a young man. I will not see him leave college. I will not see him fulfil his aspirations. I will not see him learn to drive. I will not see him fall in love and get married. I will not become a grandmother and see my son grow old. I have been robbed of so many future events.”

She revealed that her son was attending college to complete a public service course and his ambition was to become a police officer to help people.

The court heard that in November 2021, Rishmeet had just left his friends after enjoying a pleasant evening in the park in Southall, west London, and was walking home when he saw two unknown males running towards him.

Rishmeet immediately ran back towards his friends and shouted “run, run”, before he tripped and fell. One of his pursuers then stabbed him at least five times in the back. Seconds later, the second male also began to stab Rishmeet – at least 10 times.

His attackers then fled, leaving his bloodied and injured body on the ground. Detectives from the Met Police Specialist Crime Command launched a murder investigation and immediately began gathering evidence, including extensive CCTV enquiries to follow Rishmeet’s movements both before and after the attack. Enquiries led to Balakrishnan and Suleiman, who were aged 17 at the time of the attack, being arrested on suspicion of murder in December 2021.


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