Ponnuthurai Nimalaraja murder: Top Leicestershire officer appeals for help to catch killers
Leicestershire's Chief Constable is appealing to the public to help catch the killers of a dad who died after an assault in the street.
Simon Cole was speaking to the Home Affairs Select Committee yesterday following the death of Ponnuthurai Nimalaraja.
The 41-year-old father-of-two died in hospital on Saturday, a week after he was found seriously injured at the junction of Gipsy Lane and Northfield Road, just round the corner from his home in Northfields, Leicester.
At the hearing yesterday, Mr Cole was asked by committee chairman and Leicester East MP Keith Vaz whether allegations that Mr Nimalaraja had encountered a gang before his death were true.
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Mr Vaz also asked if the incident was connected to anti-social behaviour.
Mr Cole replied: "My sense would be there was an element of anti-social behaviour. There was an incident of a group going into a shop and then there was a subsequent incident involving the deceased, as he now tragically is.
"There was an altercation with the group. We are investigating that and made seven arrests last week.
"All are on bail now and the investigation continues.
"We are getting really good support from people, but we need more of that support in terms of information to support a potential prosecution of people."
Speaking to the Mercury, Mr Vaz said he wanted to appeal to anyone with information about Mr Nimalaraja's death to get in touch with police.
"I want to make sure, as we all do, that the killers are apprehended and charged as quickly as possible," Mr Vaz said.
"I want to appeal to anyone who was in the area or who knows anything about what went on to contact the police and give them whatever assistance they can in order to find the people responsible.
"This was a terrible, terrible murder. It's just awful."
Leicestershire Police yesterday confirmed a post-mortem examination had been completed, but said they were not releasing details about it "at this stage".
A family friend, speaking on behalf of Mr Nimalaraja's widow, Mathanika, said they were waiting for his body to be released, and would then be able to plan his funeral. He echoed the calls for people with information to contact police.
"The family are still very, very upset," he said. "If anyone can help the police find the people who did this, please get in touch."
In a fresh appeal for information, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Hewson said: "Since the incident, we have remained in close contact with the family, updating them and offering them support.
"Our appeals to the public have so far been well received and we have had a good response from the local community. Our investigation continues to progress, but I would still urge anyone with information about the incident, and also anyone who has heard details of that night, to come forward."
Six boys – one aged 15, one 13 and four aged 14 – and a girl aged 14 were arrested as part of the initial investigation into the assault and have since been released on police bail.
Anyone with information should call Leicestershire Police on 101.