Newsagent where worker stabbed to death in robbery ‘targeted twice before’

The newsagent in which a worker was stabbed to death during a robbery had been targeted twice before, locals said today.

The 54-year-old dad of two, known locally as Ravi, was murdered during a robbery which police say ‘escalated’.

Police and paramedics rushed to Pinner, north west London at 6am on Sunday, but the man died 45 minutes later.

A cordon remains at the scene, with a white and yellow evidence tent and forensic officers at work.

Young children left flowers at the scene today, while police performed a fingertip search.

Officers in blue forensic suits could be seen entering Marsh Food and Wine – where Ravi worked each day.

It was heard that the shop had been targeted by thieves twice, with the latest incident six months ago.

A newsagent said: “Ravi’s shop was broken into in the middle of the night. They came for his cigarettes.

“Nobody was hurt. The police were called. It was six months ago.”

While local brewery owner Gareth Cox said that the shop was also raided two years ago.

The 42-year-old, who has lived in a flat above the scene his entire life, spoke from within the cordon.

He said: “They were hit by armed men two years ago, there was police and forensics everywhere.

“Why they would target that place I don’t know, it’s a newsagent that sells party supplies.”

Gareth woke up on Sunday to discover the evidence tent outside his flat.

He said: "I woke up at 7am to find the whole road cordoned off, a couple of ambulances and a very large police presence.

"This is a really lovely north London suburb. It's generally quite nice. There's a lot of young families and good schooling."

Gareth said that his property sits right above the tent – where he saw officers moving a body yesterday morning.

He said: "There is cordon around the entire area – they've blocked off all the alleyway at the back right to the end of Pinner.

"A police car is sat outside, they're not saying much. I've woken up and seen a police evidence tent outside of my house.

"I'm housebound, I was told by the police that the cordon is expected to last for 48 hours. It's really like a ghost town here."

Residents have spoken of their shock after their local newsagent was killed.

One woman said: “I have lived here for 46 years, I know the area very well, it’s lovely – all kinds of people are here and it’s peaceful.

“I would go into that shop each week to pay my newspaper bill.

“When I do I speak to the owner, he has always been a very private person, but last week he began to open up.

“He told me how much he loves the Netherlands and how he used to live there, in Amsterdam.

“And I was told about his work with the tulips, he was so excited to talk about it, he just wouldn’t stop.

Another newsagent said: “I know the previous owner, Kan Balarajah, he owned the shop when it was a Post Office.

“It changed hands again last summer. What happened it terrible. “

Another local, 62, said: “I collected my parcels from the shop. Ravi was the nicest man, so sweet.

“He was lovely and a part of the community. He had glasses, I would see him behind the counter.

“It’s appalling what happened. He left behind two children. Everyone here is very concerned.”

No arrests have been made.

The man is the second murder victim in the capital last weekend after a boy, 17, died in Isleworth, west London on Friday.

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