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Gangster jailed for hacking rival to pieces with axe in car park

Prashad Sothalingam
Prashad Sothalingam

A street gangster has been jailed for at least 29 years for hacking a rival to death with an axe during a fight in a supermarket car park.

Prashad Sothalingam, nicknamed Bullet, was one of several young men from the Tamil community who had been at a birthday party on the fifth floor of a Morrisons car park in Mitcham, south London, when violence erupted.

When they spotted a rival faction arrive, they attacked them with an array of weapons including swords and hatchets.

The fight, on the evening of November 23 2015, left 26-year-old Neel Croos fatally injured and a number of others badly hurt, the Old Bailey heard.

One man had his fingers cut off with a machete while another suffered a fractured skull from an axe blow.

Following a retrial at the Old Bailey, Sothalingam was found guilty of murder and wounding with intent, having previously been convicted of violent disorder.

He was sentenced to life with a minimum of 29 years for murder with concurrent sentences of 14 years and three years for the other offences.

Sugan Selvarajan was jailed for a total of 14 years for wounding with intent and violent disorder.

Sivakaran Ockersz was jailed for 31 months for violent disorder and an unrelated ATM fraud while Visuparathan Dayaparan, who was also convicted of violent disorder, received 27 months behind bars.

The court heard the killing was the result of a "power struggle" within the Tooting Boys gang between the Elders and Sothalingam's group, the Youngers.

The victims' group, also armed, had been hunted down by Sothalingam's group after they arrived at the Sibthorpe Road car park.

One witness described someone shout aggressively "I am going to f*** you up" and "We run this" as bottles were thrown.

He also heard someone say in Tamil "There they are ... go get them", jurors were told.

He saw Sothalingam, who he had previously played football with, swinging the axe at the victim, hitting him in the head.

He ducked out of the way as the axe was swung at him too, jurors were told.

The witness also identified a number of the other men carrying a sword, metal poles and socks stuffed with snooker balls or stones.

Sothalingam, 26, from Mitcham; Ockersz aka Siva, 19, of Wallington; Selvarajan, 33, of Mitcham; and Dayaparan aka Visu, 24, of Mitcham, had denied the charges.