'If there is a God, he will show you justice': Tearful mum of boy, 16, killed in mistaken identity warns teen murderers

13 July 2023, 19:39 | Updated: 13 July 2023, 21:54

Ronan Kanda was murdered by Prabjeet Veadhasa and Sukhman Shergill
Ronan Kanda was murdered by Prabjeet Veadhasa and Sukhman Shergill. Picture: Handout/West Midlands Police

By Kit Heren

The mother of a teenage boy stabbed to death in a case of mistaken identity told his murderers that she would never forgive them for the killing.

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Ronan Kanda, 16, was murdered with a machete in Wolverhampton last summer by Prabjeet Veadhesa and Sukhman Shergill, also both aged 16.

The pair were named in court for the first time on Thursday, with the judge lifting reporting restrictions as he sentenced them to a total of 34 years behind bars.

Veadhesa and Shergill killed Ronan in broad daylight on June 29 last year, as he was walking home from a friend's house, Wolverhampton Crown Court heard earlier. The murderers killed Ronan - who had no involvement in gangs - because they thought he was someone else.

Ronan knew Veadhesa, of Cairn Drive in Walsall, and Shergill, of Bewley Road in Willenhall.

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Ronan Kanda
Ronan Kanda. Picture: West Midlands Police

The pair, both wearing black suits and ties, sat next to each other in the dock and listened to proceedings.

They both looked at the floor as Pooja Kanda, Ronan's mother, gave a tearful tribute to her son. She said she had "no desire to live anymore" since Ronan's death.

She told the court: "I'm proud of the man my son was in the short life he lived.

"My relationship with my son was so pure. He had so much love and respect. He was my strength, my world, he was the son every mother needs."

Pooja Kanda with Ronan
Pooja Kanda with Ronan. Picture: Handout

Addressing Veadhesa and Shergill, Mrs Kanda said: "This mother will never forgive you. If there is a God, they will show you the real justice my son deserves."

Ronan’s father, Chander, wrote: "Ronan was not only my son – he was my world, my friend and the soul of our family. He was the one that would make us laugh and realise that life is what you make it and enjoy our precious time on earth as a family."

The court heard how Ronan was followed and stabbed twice with a "vicious" Ninja knife that Veadhesa had bought online, leaving him with a 20cm deep wound in his back and hip area and a 17cm deep wound in his chest.

He was left to die in the street from the injuries inflicted by Veadhasa, who, along with Shergill, fled the scene after realising they had stabbed the wrong person and disposed of the weapons and the clothing they had been wearing.

The court heard Veadhesa had previously given the intended victim some money but he had not paid it back, and the defendants had gone to find him and "scare" him into returning the cash.

Prabjeet Veadhasa
Sukhman Shergill. Picture: West Midlands Police

Earlier in the day on June 29 last year, Veadhesa had picked up the Ninja sword set and a large machete, which he had purchased online using a fake name, from a local Post Office.

Ronan's family have since said that buying machetes online should be banned.

Before their sentences were handed down prosecutor David Mason KC said there was a "significant degree" of planning and premeditation. He said: "The weapons were ordered in advance.

"They wore dark clothing to disguise their identities and both disposed of the weapons and the clothing after the killing.

"Ronan was not the intended victim, which makes this case even more tragic. He was minding his own business, walking home from the house of his friend.

Prabjeet Verdhesa
Prabjeet Verdhesa. Picture: West Midlands Police

"It was a brutal killing in broad daylight in front of members of the public.

"There is no real evidence of any true remorse for what they did that night."

Although Shergill did not inflict any blows on Ronan, he was found to have acted in the joint enterprise of his murder and the pair were both found guilty by a jury after a five-week trial.

At Wolverhampton Crown Court on Thursday, judge Mr Justice Choudhury branded it a "cowardly attack" as he jailed Veadhesa for a minimum of 18 years and Shergill for a minimum of 16 years.

He said: The devastation caused by that cowardly attack, by stabbing him from behind, is hard to comprehend for his family.

"Their loss is incalculable. Nothing I do or say today can relieve their pain."

Ronan's family and friends were in the courtroom wearing black 'Justice for Ronan' t-shirts to watch the sentencing.

They sobbed as tributes were read out to the teenager from his father, sister and mother.

Defending Veadhesa, Adam Morgan said his client had no previous convictions and was of good character.

He said: "He is genuinely remorseful. It is something he will have to bear for the rest of his life."

Timothy Hannam KC, defending Shergill, said his client should be treated more leniently than his accomplice.

He said: "This was a joint enterprise offence but a distinction can be drawn between the two defendants.

"Mr Veadhesa was the one who actually killed Ronan. Mr Veadhesa was the one who stabbed him, not Mr Shergill."

Jailing the defendants, judge Mr Justice Choudhury said it was "disturbing" that such weapons could be bought "with ease" online.

He said the "cowardly" attack had been part of a "trivial dispute" over money.

He told the defendants: "Ronan was a normal 16-year-old boy. He had nothing to do with gangs, drugs, violence or weapons. He didn't even have any issues with either of you.

"He was targeted by mistake.

"When you realised it was Ronan you had stabbed, instead of showing humanity you both ran, leaving your friend to die in the street."

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