An innocent boy who sought refuge in Britain after the Taliban killed his father and tried to kidnap him was stabbed to death on the streets of London in a mistaken identity attack.
Rishmeet Singh, 16, was knifed 15 times in a 27-second orgy of violence after encountering a knife-wielding thug who boasted afterwards that the murder of the stranger had left him ‘excited like a kid going to a fun fair ride’.
The teenage victim had previously fled Jalalabad, Afghanistan, in October 2019 to escape the clutches of the Taliban, who killed his father and had attempted to snatch Rishmeet himself.
When his mother and grandmother brought him to what they believed was the safety of the UK, he enrolled in a Public Service course with the hope of becoming a police officer as he wanted to help people.
But on November 24, 2021, his life was brutally ended by a pair of 17-year-old gang members, who mistook him for a rival.
Rishmeet Singh, 16, was knifed 15 times in a 27-second orgy of violence after encountering a knife-wielding thug
The victim, a carer for his mother, had just left a group of friends on his way home to Southall, west London, when Vanushan Balakrishnan, 17, and Ilyas Suleiman, 17, started running towards him.
Rishmeet turned to run but tripped over and was stabbed in the back 15 times, before the pair fled, leaving him to die alone.
After the two killers, now aged 18, were convicted of murder at the Old Bailey this week, the victim’s distraught mother, Gulinder, said: ‘Rishmeet was my only child, and he had his whole life ahead of him.
‘He has been raised with so much love and now he’s gone. I am struggling to understand as to how and why this happened to my baby boy.
‘I feel I have lost everything and my life is over.’
In a moving impact statement said: ‘I have lost my husband and now I have lost my only child, my son.
‘Justice is finally served for Rishmeet but their sentence will never be enough for me.
‘They have taken my whole life away from me and Rishmeet will never come home again.’
Vanushan Balakrishnan, 18, penned a rap about the murder, boasting that he felt ‘excited like a kid going to a fun fair ride’
Police discovered the killers had earlier armed themselves with knifes and covered their faces with Covid masks before going out to find a victim from a rival gang. However, the court heard that Rishmeet was not in any gang and had never been in trouble.
Police later found a notebook at Balakrishnan’s home containing a rap he penned about the murder.
He wrote: ‘Feel my blade rip through his flesh. Bro told me u ready to go on a glide tonight.
‘I was so excited like a kid going to a fun fair ride.’
A ‘glide’ is a term referring to entering gang territory with the intention of using violence against a rival group.
The rap also referred to a victim who ‘tripped and fell’ adding: ‘He knew it was over when I was swinging my shank [knife].’
On Balakrishnan’s mobile phone, officers found an image of a blood-soaked knife on his bed taken just minutes after the murder.
Detective Inspector Laura Semple, from the Metropolitan Police’s Specialist Crime Command, said: ‘Rishmeet was an innocent, young 16-year-old who had his whole life ahead of him.
Police discovered the killers had earlier armed themselves with knifes and covered their faces with Covid masks before the attack (pictured: 18-year-old killer Illyas Suleiman)
‘He had just spent an enjoyable evening with his friends and was making the short walk home when he was callously chased down and knifed to death by Balakrishnan and Suleiman.
‘Between them, they stabbed him 15 times while he was defenceless on the floor.
‘There is never an excuse to murder someone in cold blood, but this case is made even more tragic by the fact that Rishmeet was wrongly targeted by his attackers.
‘Balakrishnan and Suleiman left the flat that day with the intention of ending someone’s life.
‘Poor Rishmeet was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time.’
The two teenage killers, now aged 18, were convicted of murder at the Old Bailey this week
Yesterday members of Rishmeet’s family held their hands together as the jury found both teenagers guilty after six hours of deliberation.
Judge Sarah Munro told the killers: ‘You will both face life imprisonment.’
Thanking the jury, the judge said: ‘The facts of the case you have been involved in are scarily typical.
‘We are on a daily basis hearing cases of young people killing other teenagers, with knives similar to these often purchased online.’
The pair will be sentenced on April 28.