A burglar has been jailed for at least 32 years for a “relentless” knife attack on a shopkeeper for the sake of £100 in the till.
Alex Gunn, 31, was caught on CCTV stabbing 54-year-old Ravi Katharkamar at Marsh Food and Wine in Pinner, north-west London, early on March 24, shortly after the trader had opened up.
The defendant had embarked on a “one-man crimewave” to fund his drug habit shortly after being released from prison, the Old Bailey heard.
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.
Jailing him for life with a minimum term of 32 years, Judge Angela Rafferty QC said no-one who saw the CCTV could doubt the attack on Mr Katharkamar was “relentless”.
She told Gunn: “Your arrogance is clear to me during your evidence. I consider you remorseless. There is very little mitigation in this case.”
Judge Rafferty said Gunn’s first impulse upon his arrest was “to lie”.
Gunn interrupted the judge several times to protest his innocence, saying “No, I never”, before he was sent down.
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 Mr Katharkamar 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, 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.
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.
Following Gunn’s conviction, Mr Katharkamar’s widow, Vignarani Aiyathirai, said in a statement: “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 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.”