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News 2008
News ->Shopkeeper Tony Singh not to face murder charge

London, February 27, 2008 (IANS)

Tony SinghIndian shopkeeper and local hero Tony Singh was Wednesday told that he will not face a murder charge after a career criminal who tried to rob him was stabbed to death with his own knife. Singh, 34, feared he could face a murder charge after career criminal Liam Kilroe was killed trying to rob the British Indian shopkeeper Feb 17 - just five days after police had issued a warrant on Kilroe. Singh, who owns a convenience store in Skemersdale, in Lancashire, was arrested but later released on bail.

Said Detective Superintendent Mick Gradwell: "This was a violent attack on Mr Singh by a convicted armed robber. My recommendation was that Mr Singh should not be prosecuted and I am pleased that the Crown Prosecution Service has agreed with that."

Singh told the local Skemersdale Advertiser newspaper: "It is a big burden that has been lifted, but on the other hand the memory of what happened will live with me forever.

"It will always be there, I will be watching it replay in my mind and it is something I'll have to live with for the rest of my life."

Singh, who suffered knife injuries to his head during the attack and needed hospital treatment, has become a local hero for standing up to an attacker in a country where violent crime routinely captures newspaper headlines. Singh gave an account of what happened Feb 17 after being told Wednesday that he will not face any charges.

"I tried to get away from the attacker but was left with no option other than to defend myself. In the course of the attack I was stabbed to my head causing what could have been a life threatening injury and also repeated stab wounds to my back," Singh said.

"In the struggle with my attacker I understand he suffered an injury but I do not know how that injury was caused. I do not want to be seen as a hero. I did no more or less than try to save my own life. I extend my sympathy to the Kilroe family, who after all have lost a son."

He said he was "a few millimetres" from being killed in the fight, which began when Kilroe confronted Singh with a knife, smashed his car window and demanded to be handed over the day's takings after he had closed his shop.

Ordinary Britons have continued to question the police action, saying Kilroe - a man who was facing trial for armed robbery - should not have been out on bail in the first place, and that Singh should never have been arrested.

Newspaper websites have been inundated with messages of support for Singh. One, posted in the Daily Telegraph, said the reason police and the Crown Prosecution Service had decided not to prosecute Singh was that they knew no jury would find him guilty. Another said there would have been a "national outcry" if Singh had been charged and slammed the police for putting him through "10 days of agony".

Singh escaped the fate of Tony Martin, a Norfolk farmer who served three years in prison after shooting dead a teenager burglar in his farm in 1999.

The opposition Conservative Party has called for a review of the law covering self-defence. The current law permits people to use "reasonable force" to defend themselves and others. However, critics claim it is weighted in favour of the criminal.

Shailesh Vara, the Conservative Party deputy leader in parliament, recently criticised the government's failure to amend legislation in favour of citizens who defend themselves against attack.

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