A man and a teenage boy have been convicted of the murder of Suren Sivananthan in Milton Keynes.
Gnanachandran Balachandran, aged 38, of The Fleet, Springfield, Milton Keynes, and a 17-year-old boy who cannot be named for legal reasons, were found guilty by a jury following a seven week trial at Luton Crown Court.
Prashanth Thevarasa, aged 24, of Farrier Place, Downs Barn, Milton Keynes, was found guilty of one count of Section 18 grievous bodily harm with intent.
In January 2017 the victim, 32-year-old Suren Sivananthan, a Sri Lankan national living in Canada, visited the United Kingdom to see a female friend whom he knew from school in Sri Lanka.
During the afternoon of 20 January 2017 Suren and his friend went shopping in Milton Keynes. As they noticed the car of Gnanachandran Balachandran, the friend’s estranged husband, they parted ways. The woman gave Suren a spare mobile phone to keep in touch with him.
She later called Suren and went to find him. As she approached Suren and they were still talking on the phone, he told her not to stop as he had noticed Balachandran was following him.
Shortly afterwards, Balachandran and Thevarasa befriended Suren, who they did not know but they were aware of his relationship with his wife, and encouraged him to drink alcohol.
The pair subsequently took him to a number of locations throughout the evening including Favourite Chicken in Netherfield where Suren was assaulted in a nearby alleyway.
They then travelled to a residential address in Coffee Hall where they were joined by the teenage boy who cannot be named for legal reasons.
They travelled to the area near the Co-op store in Great Linford where Suren was further assaulted. Suren’s friend repeatedly tried to contact him via the mobile phone and became very concerned for his safety.
At 4am the following day Suren’s body, which displayed obvious signs of blunt force injuries, was discovered alone near the pond outside the Co-op store.
All of the defendants were charged with murder on January 24.
Senior investigating officer detective chief inspector Mark Glover said: “Suren died as a result of a brutal and sustained attack by the defendants who inflicted 87 injuries upon him over a prolonged period of time. The violence which they exacted upon Suren included fatal injuries to his head and was motivated by Balachandran’s jealously over Suren being in a new relationship with his estranged wife. The defendants then callously left Suren for dead.
“This investigation has resulted in Balachandran and a teenage boy being convicted of Suren’s murder. Tragically Suren was due to return home to Canada to his family on the day he died. No convictions will ever bring Suren back for his loved ones but I hope the verdict the jury has reached will go some way towards enabling them to be able to move forward from this heart-breaking time in their lives.”
Liz Scriven, senior crown prosecutor for Thames and Chiltern Crown Prosecution Service said: “On Friday, 20 January 2017, Suren was subjected to sustained and violent assaults in at least three locations in Milton Keynes and suffered multiple blunt force injuries to his head and face along with other injuries to the rest of his body. The motive for the execution is believed to be his relationship with Gnanachandran Balachandran’s estranged wife. Balachandran was obsessed with his ex-wife and would not accept the marriage was over, despite being separated from her for nine years.
“When he found out about the relationship he instigated the vicious assaults by gathering together his friends, including Prashanth Thevarasa, who befriended Suren and encouraged him to drink with them. Once drunk, Suren was less able to resist the violence and defend himself against his attackers. After being taken by taxi to a service yard in Netherfield and being severely beaten, Suren was taken by the men in a taxi to a property in Rochfords where he was again beaten by them and a 17-year-old boy, who was present in the address. The men and the boy then took Suren by taxi to Great Linford where he was beaten again. Covered in blood, Suren had his clothes changed by the group, and was then left on the floor outside the CO-OP where he was eventually found dead at 4am on 21 January; the day he was due to return home to Canada.
“When arrested in a hotel, Balachandran was found with Suren’s blood stained clothing and jewellery, a mobile phone Suren had borrowed from Balachandran’s estranged wife and her car key, which she had also given him. He eventually admitted drinking with Suren, but said he had only gone to Great Linford to take Suren some clothes as he had been told he had sustained injuries in a fall. The 17-year-old boy answered ‘no comment’ during his police interviews. Thevarasa denied any involvement in the assaults and blamed the others for inflicting the injuries which killed Suren. Balachandran and the 17-year-old boy have today been found guilty of murder and Thevarasa has been found guilty of wounding with intent, despite their denials.
“We have worked closely with Thames Valley Police since this investigation was launched and as a result of the hard work and diligence of the prosecution team, a just outcome has been achieved. We know that nothing will bring Suren back to his family and friends, but we hope that these convictions bring them at least a small sense that justice has been done.
“Our thoughts are very much with them all at this time.”