A BURGLAR has been found guilty of killing a hard-working shopkeeper for the sake of £100 in the till during a ‘one-man crimewave’.
Alex Gunn, 31, was caught on CCTV stabbing 54-year-old Ravi Katharkamar (pictured) at Marsh Food and Wine in Pinner, north-west London, early on March 24, shortly after the trader had opened up.
After Gunn was found convicted of murder by a jury at the Old Bailey, Mr Katharkamar’s widow described the loss of the ‘kind, humorous and loving’ family man.
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.
‘I cannot bear the thought of Ravi being in pain and then dying there, where he was attacked, on the floor of the shop.
‘I hate the fact he was alone, that I was not there to hold or comfort him, tend to his wounds or tell him I loved him and that all would be OK. No, he died alone with no-one around him.
I constantly wonder if the man who did this will ever realise or care that he has left such a huge trail of devastation within my family.’
Ms Aiyathirai said her husband had been ‘defenceless against a violent man who thought nothing of using a knife’.
The trial had heard that Gunn was caught on CCTV, holding a knife to Mr Katharkamar’s throat and grappling with him before stabbing him in the chest.
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.
The masked assailant made off with the till and drove away in a stolen black Vauxhall Astra.
The court heard that Gunn had visited Marsh Food and Wine twice in the stolen car before the fatal robbery, including one visit a week earlier.
He was driving the Astra when he was arrested five days later, having changed the number plates to evade detection, jurors were told.
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.
Describing Gunn as a ‘one-man crimewave’, he told jurors he was also responsible for a string of burglaries and thefts, all to fund his drug habit.
Gunn 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.
Devi Kharran, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Gunn’s criminal behaviour had escalated in March, resulting in the death of ‘an innocent family man who was working hard in his newsagent in suburban Pinner’.
‘This case has had a real impact on the local community — particularly those who knew Ravi Katharkamar and were regular customers to his shop,’ he said.
‘I hope today’s conviction provides the family and friends of Mr Katharkamar with some degree of comfort.’