Wolverhampton – Two 17-year-olds have received their sentences for the fatal stabbing of a 16-year-old boy in a heart-wrenching case of mistaken identity. Ronan Kanda was brutally attacked near his Wolverhampton home in June 2022 after visiting a friend’s residence to purchase a PlayStation controller.
During the trial, it was revealed that the assailants, one of whom had recently acquired knives through an online purchase, tragically misidentified Ronan as his friend. The court heard that Prabjeet Veadhasa will serve a minimum term of 18 years, while Sukhman Shergill will face a minimum of 16 years, as stated by the presiding judge, Mr. Justice Choudhury, at Wolverhampton Crown Court.
Before announcing the sentences, the judge made the decision to lift reporting restrictions, allowing the teenagers to be named. This ruling aimed to send a resounding message about the severity of knife crime and its consequences.
According to the court proceedings, Veadhasa had a financial dispute with Ronan’s friend and intended to confront him on June 29, 2022. Tragically, the attackers coincidentally spotted Ronan leaving the house they believed their intended victim resided in, leading them to mistakenly believe he was their target.
Despite being mere yards away from his family home, Ronan was ambushed from behind while enjoying music through his headphones. Veadhasa, armed with the sword he had obtained earlier that day, delivered two fatal stabs, causing Ronan’s immediate death. The wounds included a 20cm-deep gash in his back and hip area, as well as a 17cm-deep wound in his chest.
Upon realizing their grave mistake, the assailants hastily fled the scene, discarding their weapons and clothing. Ronan’s family members, present in the courtroom and wearing “Justice for Ronan” T-shirts, were overcome with grief as tributes were shared during the hearing. Pooja Kanda, Ronan’s mother, delivered a deeply personal statement, revealing how she replays the last time she saw her son alive in her mind every day. She expressed the immeasurable loss of a lifetime filled with dreams, hopes, and aspirations, emphasizing that Ronan was the son every mother yearns for.
Addressing the defendants, both of whom averted their gaze as she spoke, Pooja Kanda held them accountable for their evil actions that robbed her of her son’s life, leaving her with nothing but hatred for the world. Chander Kanda, Ronan’s father, shared how his son’s death has shattered his own life.
Nikita Kanda, Ronan’s sister, expressed that she is no longer the same person and described the emptiness she now carries, stating that her world has come to a halt. While Shergill did not personally inflict any blows, a jury found him guilty under the joint enterprise doctrine, holding him responsible for Ronan’s murder. Veadhasa’s defense attorney, Adam Morgan, highlighted his client’s previously untarnished character and genuine remorse. Timothy Hannam KC, Shergill’s defense counsel, advocated for a more lenient treatment, emphasizing that Veadhasa was the one who directly caused Ronan’s death. West Midlands Police characterized the case as an “unbelievably callous and shocking” instance of mistaken identity.