Birmingham & Black Country

Shopkeeper murder: Brothers jailed for Kingstanding stabbing

(Clockwise from top left) John Meenan, Ian Meenan, Liam Ryan and Anthony Bayliss
Image caption The men beat and stabbed Suppiah Tharmaseelan as they stole cigarettes

Two pairs of brothers have been jailed for life for the murder of a Birmingham shopkeeper during a robbery.

Twins Ian and John Meenan and half-brothers Liam Ryan and Anthony Bayliss were convicted at a trial last month.

Suppiah Tharmaseelan, 48, was stabbed as the four men stole cigarettes from the Select Convenience Store on College Road, Kingstanding, in November 2010.

His children might have witnessed the murder on the shop's CCTV system, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

The four men from Erdington, Birmingham, were given differing minimum terms because of their varying roles.

Ian Meenan, 27, of Short Heath Road, was sentenced to a minimum of 27 years for stabbing Mr Tharmaseelan in the chest with a kitchen knife.

John Meenan, of Camberley Grove, must serve at least 24 years.

Ryan, 19, is to serve at least 21 years and 25-year-old Bayliss a minimum of 20 years. The pair are from Gretton Road.

'Mindless violence'

A fifth defendant, James Moore, 25, of Twickenham Road, Kingstanding, who was cleared of murder, was jailed for six years and nine months after admitting robbery, along with the other four.

Image caption Police said Suppiah Tharmaseelan was well known and liked in the Kingstanding area

Mr Tharmaseelan, who had a wife and four children aged between three and 15, died after being stabbed, punched and kicked on the evening of 27 November last year.

Sentencing the men, the judge told them: "One of the most tragic aspects of this case is that Mr Tharmaseelan's children were upstairs in the flat as these events were unfolding.

"It is not entirely clear how much they saw.

"Those poor children, or at least some of them, found their father dying immediately after the mindless violence to which he had been subjected."

The judge accepted the planned theft had been hatched minutes before the attack but said all four men "knew substantial force would be used if necessary".

"Within seconds of entry the violence began.

"I am quite satisfied that John Meenan, Liam Ryan and Anthony Bayliss realised at this point at the latest that Ian Meenan was carrying a knife and was prepared to use it.

"Mr Tharmaseelan was a brave man. When he was confronted by the four of you, he sought to defend himself and his property."

A shop assistant was also punched and kicked during the attack.

Commenting after the sentencing, Det Ch Insp Sab Johal, who led West Midlands Police's investigation, said: "Suppiah was a decent family man who worked hard to earn a living.

"He was well known and liked in the local community and had run the shop for five years.

"The jail terms reflect the brutality used by the group in their attack on him and I hope today's result offers some comfort to his family."

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