Six Convicted After Man Died Defending Business
Tuesday 13th May 2014
A gang has been found guilty of manslaughter after a man died trying to defend his cash and carry business in east London during a robbery.
Shami Atwal chased one of the robbers down the road in Barking last October and was then pushed into the path of an oncoming lorry.
Vidmantas Gorskoves (26), Aurimas Diliunas (27), Farhan Sheikh (39), Deibidas Sumskas (25), Reiniks Kivers (28) and Edgaras Balezantis (25) have all been convicted at the Old Bailey.
The court heard how on Monday, 14 October six men got stormed their way inside Glenn & CO on River Road armed with weapons including sledgehammers and metal bars.
Mr Atwal's wife was sitting in her office at the time and was grabbed her by her hair and threatened with a metal rod. A second man took her handbag from the windowsill, which contained a number of items including £1,000 in cash.
Mr Atwal and a number of his staff were working in offices in portacabins behind the warehouse. After hearing shouts they rushed into the main warehouse entrance just as the gang came running out, one of them still in possession of Mrs Atwal's handbag.
Mr Atwal pursued the robbers and managed to grab hold of one of them. The ensuing struggle caused the robber to push Mr Atwal, who fell into the road and into the path of an on coming lorry, which was unable to stop in time.
Mr Atwal was tended to by his distraught wife and members of his staff while they waited for police and the ambulance service to arrive. Mr Atwal was pronounced dead at the scene.
The gang discarded a number of their weapons and gloves along their escape route before being picked up by a getaway vehicle. They were later recovered by police and sent off for forensic examination, which linked them to Gorskoves, Diliunas and Kivers.
Detectives discovered that on Sunday 13, October 2013 Sheikh attended the Wickes DIY store in Hertford Road, Barking, where he purchased a sledgehammer and a fencing hammer.
On the day of the robbery Sheikh was accompanied by Balezantis to B&Q in Beckton, where Sheikh purchased a pair of gloves.
Further investigations revealed that a BMW 5 series used in the robbery belonged to Sheikh and on the day of the incident had stolen registration plates.
In a statement Mrs Damanjeet Kaur - Mr Atwal's wife - called him "the most loving husband and father."
"Since that Monday I don't know how to cope or live anymore," she continued. "My life took a 360 degree turn. We have lost the children's father, my husband and it is very hard for me and the children.
"This is something we will live with for the rest of our life and I will see my kids grow up without their dad and I am finding that very hard to cope with. There are no words to express how we are feeling - we are just living. We miss him all the time and always will".
All six will be sentenced at the same court on a date to be confirmed.
Detective Chief Inspector Neale Baldock said: "This was a violent robbery that went terribly wrong and resulted in Mr Atwal loosing his life. He died whilst trying to defend his livelihood and these callous men have showed no remorse for their actions.
"I hope that today's conviction provides Mr Atwal's family with some
small measure of solace and will allow them to now move forward."