Shopworker Thilak Mohan-Raj was today found guilty of murdering his boss after he was caught stealing the takings from a convenience store in Bedford.
A jury at Luton Crown Court decided Mohan-Raj, 25, who had worked at the MK Food and Wine shop in Elstow Road for only a few days, had murdered the shop’s owner Vairamuthu Thiyagarajah in April 2013.
The court had heard how Sri Lankan-born Mr Thiyagarajah, 56, lived in the flat above the shop with three other men who worked at the shop, including the offender.
The shop’s takings had been stolen by Mohan-Raj and as his deceit was uncovered by his employer, he then caused massive head injuries to Mr Thiyagarajah by repeatedly hitting him over the head with a heavy object.
Fellow Sri Lankan Mohan-Raj originally claimed he had been asleep at the time of the incident and that he’d found Mr Thiyagarajah injured in the flat and assumed he’d fallen over.
He admitted in Court that he had stolen the money and that in the ensuing argument with the older man, had pushed him over several times in an effort to “defend himself”.
Mr Thiyagarajah was taken by ambulance to Addenbrookes hospital on Sunday April 7 but died four days later.
A post mortem showed his death was caused by being hit on the back of the head several times with a heavy object; after which he fell to the floor and further blows were delivered when he was lying on the floor, including kicks to the face.
Det Insp Liz Mead, from the Major Crime Unit, said Mr Thiyagarajah was a much-loved father and grandfather who was well-known in the Elstow Road area through working in the shop for many years.
She said: “I’m pleased that the jury have arrived at this verdict today. This was a totally unprovoked attack on a defenceless and innocent man, just doing his job and working hard in his family business.
“Mr Thiyagarajah was a popular figure within the community and he had a reputation for looking after his family, friends and employees. The irony of the situation is that the man who murdered him had been employed on recommendation from a friend.
“His sudden and violent death leaves a family with many unfulfilled dreams”.
She added: “Mr Thiyagarajah trusted Mohan-Raj to work in the shop and Mohan-Raj repaid his kindness by stealing from him and then killing him when his deceit was discovered.
“This was not an accident or a situation where reasonable self defence had unforeseen consequences – Mohan-Raj deliberately unleashed terrible and unprovoked violence on an older man to silence him about the theft.
“I hope Mr Thiyagarajah’s family are able to take something from today while they continue to rebuild their lives.
“They have been utterly devastated by his loss and his value to the wider community is demonstrated by the amount of people who attended his funeral which numbered over 1,000.”