Boy, 16, charged over murder of north London shop worker | London

A 16-year-old boy has been charged with the murder of a shop assistant who was attacked in a row over cigarette papers in Mill Hill, north London.

The suspect, who has not been named by police, was arrested on Monday following the death of Vijay Patel, 49.

The boy is due to appear at Willesden Magistrates’ Court on Wednesday.

Police were called to the incident at around 11.45pm on Saturday. Mr Patel, a father of two, died the following day.

Jagmeet Sethi, 27, who worked in the convenience shop alongside Mr Patel for almost a year, said he struggled to believe his friend could “lose his life only for one Rizla, nothing else”.

“It’s very hard to accept this,” he said. “He’s not here any more. It is very difficult.”

He said he was still expecting Mr Patel to walk through the shop door.

He said Mr Patel had built a reputation among customers as a “very helpful, quiet, down-to-earth” man who would help shoppers carry their bags if they were struggling.

“He was a very nice guy,” he said, “a good-natured guy. If you buy something he would go with you to your car and give it to you.

“It is unacceptable to us that he is no more.”

Workers in local Mill Hill businesses also spoke of their shock.

Amjad Salaam, 72, who works at a nearby dry cleaners, described Mr Patel as an “honest” and “hard-working” man who would come to his shop to “say hello” from time to time.

“You can’t even think of any right words to say about it,” he said. “It’s just dreadful.”

“They have lost a loyal worker.”

He said Mill Hill is a “very nice, pleasant area”, and the local community would be stunned by the killing.

Police said they are continuing to appeal for information from potential witnesses, with three people believed to have been involved.

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