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Mitcham street brawl axe murderer jailed

Neel Croos Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Neel Croos died after a fight between two rival gang factions

A man has been jailed for life for killing a rival gang member with an axe during a fight in a car park.

Neel Croos, 26, died from a head injury following a fight in Holborn Way, Mitcham on 23 November 2015.

Prashad Sothalingam, nicknamed Bullet, was one of several young men from the Tamil community who had been at a birthday party when violence erupted.

He was jailed after being found guilty of murder and wounding with intent at a retrial at the Old Bailey.

Sothalingam, who had previously been convicted of violent disorder, was told he must serve a minimum of 29 years in prison.

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.

Mr Croos's group, which was also armed, had been hunted down by Sothalingam's group.

'Go get them'

Sothalingam had been at a birthday party on the fifth floor of a Morrison's car park in Mitcham, the court heard.

When they saw a rival faction arrive they attacked them with a variety of weapons.

Image copyright Metropolitan Police
Image caption Left to right: Prashad Sothalingam, Sivakaran Ockersz, Sugan Selvarajan and Visuparathan Dayaparan were all jailed for their parts in the fight

One witness said he heard someone say in Tamil: "There they are. Go get them."

He told the jury he had seen Sothalingam, whom he had previously seen playing football, swinging an axe at Mr Croos, hitting him on the head.

He also told the court he had seen other men carrying a sword, metal poles and socks stuffed with snooker balls or stones.

The judge also jailed Sugan Selvarajan for a total of 14 years for wounding with intent and violent disorder, and Sivakaran Ockersz for 31 months for violent disorder and an unrelated ATM fraud.

Visuparathan Dayaparan was sent to prison for 27 months after being convicted of violent disorder.

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

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