Alex Gunn, 31, crept up on Ravi Katharkamar, 54, from behind as he set out the Sunday newspapers at Marsh Food and Wine in Pinner, north-west London
A masked robber described as a ‘one man crime wave’ is facing a life sentence for stabbing a shopkeeper to death to steal £100 in the till.
Alex Gunn, 31, crept up on Ravi Katharkamar, 54, from behind as he set out the Sunday newspapers at Marsh Food and Wine in Pinner, north-west London, on the morning of March 24.
CCTV footage from the shop shows the killer knifing Mr Katharkamar and wrenching the cash till from his hands.
Gunn could be seen on camera holding a knife to Mr Katharkamar’s throat and grappling with him before stabbing him in the chest.
The masked assailant made off with the till and drove away in a stolen black Vauxhall Astra as the father-of-two to collapsed in the doorway.
A jogger discovered the victim collapsed and alerted emergency services, who pronounced him dead at the scene.
The shopkeeper had suffered two knife wounds, one of which fractured a rib and punctured his lung and heart.
Gunn, of no fixed address, denied but was convicted of murder, robbery, three counts of theft, four charges of burglary, and two allegations of having a blade.
The Old Bailey heard Mr Katharkamar’s widow describe the loss of ‘my best friend, my soul mate’, saying the thought of his killer knifing him for £100 ‘still haunts her’.
Vignarani Aiyathirai said in a statement read to the court: ‘A stranger fatally and brutally stabbed Ravi for the £100 or so float from the till.
‘The thought of this haunts me. He died alone with no-one around him.’
The Old Bailey heard that Gunn had visited Marsh Food and Wine twice in the stolen car before the fatal robbery, including one visit a week earlier, almost to the minute.
He was driving the Astra when he was arrested five days later, having changed the number plates to evade detection, jurors were told.
Mr Katharkamar had suffered two knife wounds, one of which fractured a rib and punctured his lung and heart
Prosecutor Bill Emlyn Jones QC said Gunn was ‘sufficiently savvy’ to cover himself with a balaclava and gloves during the attack on Mr Katharkamar, but his build, movements and other CCTV footage gave him away.
He said the killer had visited the shop in advance to work out when the father-of-two would be most vulnerable.
‘As it happens the defendant had done his homework,’ he said.
Describing Gunn as a ‘one-man crimewave’, he told jurors the killer was also responsible for a string of burglaries and thefts all to fund his drug habit.
Gunn, of Pinner Grove, Pinner, denied being responsible for the killing but the jury found him guilty of murder, robbery, four burglaries, three thefts, and two counts of possession of a bladed article.
He was remanded into custody to be sentenced at the Old Bailey on Friday.
Dr Puveendran Arullendran was out on a run when he stopped to look in the shop and found Mr Katharkamar bleeding on the floor with two stab wounds to his chest.
He called the emergency services and stayed with the victim but it was not possible to resuscitate Mr Katharkamar who was pronounced dead at 6.45am.
The Old Bailey heard that Gunn had visited Marsh Food and Wine twice in the stolen car before the fatal robbery, including one visit a week earlier, almost to the minute
In a statement read to the court, Mr Katharkamar’s wife, she said they met while he was working in a nearby flower factory in Holland and fell in love, marrying four months later.
The couple, originally from Sri Lanka, had two children together and moved to England to improve their chances of getting a good education, the Old Bailey heard.
‘A man came into our shop early on that Sunday morning and stabbed Mr Katharkamar, it was 24 March 2019. This was he day that changed my life, and that of my family.
‘What makes it even worse is the thought of how he died. He was stabbed, beaten, loads of times. He tried to protect himself, holding his hands up in front of him, he tried to push the man away, but was defenceless against a violent man who thought nothing of using a knife.’
He will return for sentence on Friday (11) October.
He said the killer had visited the shop in advance to work out when the father-of-two would be most vulnerable
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