London: Two Indian-origin teenagers were on Thursday sentenced to a total of 34 years’ imprisonment for the stabbing to death of a third teenager, also of Indian descent, with a machete and ninja sword in Wolverhampton in the West Midlands region of England last year.

Ronan Kanda, 16, was attacked in July 2022 and West Midlands Police launched a murder investigation after he died at the scene. A post-mortem revealed he died after being stabbed twice in what emerged as a case of mistaken identity.

The two 16-year-old suspects, not named at the time due to being minors, have now been identified as Prabjeet Veadhasa and Sukhman Shergill on the decision of the sentencing judge at Wolverhampton Crown Court as a warning against knife crime.

While Veadhasa will serve a minimum term of 18 years in prison, Shergill will serve a minimum of 16 years.

“The pain of losing a child is immeasurable, but to also know that he was not the intended target adds a whole new layer of grief and I cannot begin to imagine the sorrow Ronan’s family feel,” said Detective Inspector Ade George from the West Midlands Police Homicide Unit who led the investigation.

“The defendants on trial are also too young to have thrown their lives away on such reckless actions that led to this tragedy. Their families too will suffer as they face lengthy prison sentences. There are no winners when knives remain on our streets and we will continue to crack down on those who think it’s acceptable to carry them,” he said.

The court heard that Kanda was on a short walk home from a friend’s house where he went to get a PlayStation

controller when he was chased and struck from behind with the weapons bought online by Veadhasa.

“Ronan was taken completely by surprise and was utterly defenceless. He stumbled and called for help before collapsing on the road. Sadly Ronan’s injuries were too catastrophic to survive and he died at the scene,” the police said.

It later emerged that the “unbelievably callous and shocking case of mistaken identity” occurred because the two attackers had intended to harm Kanda’s friend, having fought with him on a previous occasion.

Following the police investigation, it was clear that although only Veadhesa inflicted the blows which killed Ronan, Shergill acted in the joint enterprise of murder. After a five-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court a jury took just over two hours to find the pair, now aged 17, guilty of murder.

In a statement read to the court, Ronan’s mother Pooja Kanda said: “On 29 June 2022 my innocent son was murdered. I remember kissing his cheek and saying you look very handsome and waving at him before his father dropped him off to the snooker club – I replay this in my mind every day. That was the last time I saw my son alive.

“With this, I have lost a lifetime of dreams, plans, hopes and wishes. Nothing on this earth will satisfy my maternal desire to hold my son in my arms.” Ronan’s father Chander said: “Ronan was not only my son – he was my world, my friend and the soul of our family. He was the one that would make us laugh and realise that life is what you make it and enjoy our precious time on earth as a family.”

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