Beds, Herts & Bucks

Man jailed for killing 'courageous' Watford shopkeeper

Michael McInerney Image copyright JOHN O REILLY
Image caption Michael McInerney has been jailed for ten and a half years for the manslaughter of Arulchelvam Prasanna

A man has been jailed for killing a "courageous" shopkeeper who died trying to protect his van.

Arulchelvam Prasanna was pushed from his van and fatally hit his head as it was stolen from outside a Watford cash and carry store, in May 2013.

Michael McInerney, 34, of Borehamwood, admitted manslaughter and conspiring to steal.

At Luton Crown Court, John Price QC said Mr Prasanna "courageously acted" to stop the driver getting away".

Last October, cousins Patrick and James O'Driscoll were jailed for ten-and-a-half years and seven-and-a-half years respectively, after admitting the manslaughter of Mr Prasanna.

Patrick O'Driscoll's sentence was increased to 12 years on appeal.

Image copyright JOHN O REILLY
Image caption Married father Prasanna Arulchelvam died trying to prevent his van from being stolen

The hearing was told how a customer at the Costo car park heard a "nasty crunch" as Mr Prasanna's head hit the ground.

McInerney, arrested under a European warrant last December in Corby, Northamptonshire, shouted "move it" as the van sped off, the court heard.

Mr Prasanna, a married father-of-one, died 11 days after the attack, at St Mary's Hospital in London.

McInerney, who appeared via a video link from Woodhill Prison, in Milton Keynes, had 17 previous convictions for 32 offences, the court heard.

When he attacked Sri-Lankan-born Mr Prasanna, McInerney was serving a seven-month suspended sentence for a similar theft in Sheerness, in which the owner who tried to stop him had also fallen into the road.

He will serve ten-and-a-half years for manslaughter, two years concurrently for conspiracy to steal and six months consecutive from his previously suspended sentence.

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