Heroic Newington Green shopkeeper gives evidence at trial of his alleged attackers

Ashok Patel receiving his Islington community hero award. Pic by Dieter Perry

Ashok Patel receiving his Islington community hero award. Pic by Dieter Perry - Credit: Archant

A much-loved shopkeeper was stabbed in the head while herocially trying to defend his grocery from three knife-wielding robbers, a court heard on Monday.

Ashok Patel, 64, a popular figure at Lena Supermarket, in Ferntower Road, Newington Green, which he ran with his family, grabbed a baseball bat to fend off Troy Mangal and two accomplices when they burst into his store.

Grey-haired Mr Patel managed to force them back but lost his footing and crashed to the ground of the store he has run for 13 years, Inner London Crown Court was told last Monday.

Mangal, 18, then pinned him to the ground and repeatedly stabbed him in the head with a carving knife.

Mr Patel suffered a deep wound to his head and a bleeding on the brain from the attack.

Giving evidence, behind a screen to avoid seeing the defendants, said: “The boys came into the store and straight away they started beating me with knives on to my head.

“One came next to me and hit me with the knife on the side of the head. My head was bleeding a lot at that time.”

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Mangal has pleaded guilty to the attack but his alleged accomplices Ibrahim Jama, 23, and Yousef Musa, 25, are standing trial on charges of robbery, grievous bodily harm with intent and threatening a person with a blade in public.

The attackers got away with £220, some milk tokens, and bottles of alcohol following the raid on December 30 last year, jurors were told.

After ransacking the tills and behind the counter the robbers fled.

Police were called and tracked two suspects down to a nearby house. When they burst in, one of the suspects froze while the other climbed up scaffolding at the back of the house onto the roof, where he later fell off.

After the attack, Mr Patel told the Gazette he was overwhelmed by the messages of support he had received from the community. He was later named as one of Islington’s community heroes, and was presented with the award by the Gazette and the then mayor of Islington JilaniChoudhury.

Speaking at the time he said: “It’s just so good to be part of this community – I love them all.”

Both Musa, of Halton Road, Canonbury, and Jama, of Mingard Walk, Holloway, deny robbery, causing GBH with intent, and threatening a person with a blade in a public place.

Mangal, of Caledonian Road, Holloway , has admitted robbery and causing GBH with intent, and will be sentenced at the end of the trial.

The trial continues.