Three jailed over Blackberry killing

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The Independent Online

Three robbers were jailed for nine years each today for killing a man for his BlackBerry phone which they sold for £60 and a chicken dinner.

Armenian Roshan Samedov, 18, and Iranians Jegir Ahmmadi, 20, and Awat Muradi, 18, all from Thornton Heath, south London, were found guilty of manslaughter and robbery last month.

Saravanakumar Sellappan, 24, was targeted in London Road, Thornton Heath, when the robbers saw him talking on his BlackBerry.

They followed him into residential Langdale Road, where they struck, knocking him to the ground, in October last year.

He became unconscious the following morning and died from a brain injury despite being sent home from hospital.

Judge Michael Mettyear told them: "This was a violent robbery on a street on a wholly innocent victim.

"With the three of you there, the probability is that the mere threat of force would have persuaded him to hand over his BlackBerry.

"He was not given a chance. He was struck by a vicious blow which knocked him from his feet and caused head injuries.

"And for what? For the sake of a mobile phone which you thought was worth £100, but which netted you £60 and a chicken takeaway."

Judge Mettyear said Mr Sellappan was the only son of a family in India, who was walking home from work at a petrol station.

He did not report the robbery to police because he did not want to worry his parents and also did not want to lose time from work.

When friends took him to hospital, he said he had fallen down stairs.

But after his death, the pathologist alerted police that the head injury could not be from such a fall.

The judge said the defendants would have got away with the crime had it not been for this and then the "tenacity" of the police inquiry.

But he said the overriding factor in catching and convicting them had been CCTV cameras.

He said he did not want to enter into the political debate about scrapping the cameras, but the fact was it was not the only case in which they had been vital.