26/02/2009

Woman Guilty Of 'Queue-Jumping' Death

A 37-year-old woman has been found guilty of the manslaughter of a man in a supermarket after a 'queue-jumping' row in Merton.

Antonette Richardson had called her boyfriend Tony Virasami into the Sainsbury's store in south London, after she was accused of jumping a queue.

Richardson, 37, had denied the charge at Southwark Crown Court.

Virasami, 38, earlier admitted killing Kevin Tripp after mistakenly believing he had pushed in front of Richardson.

The 38-year-old – who was wearing an electronic tag and on bail for shoplifting at the time of the attack – punched Mr Tripp, sending him crashing to the floor. The court heard he accused Mr Tripp of "messing" with his wife, before delivering an "almighty" blow.

In fact, it had been another shopper, Adam Prendergast, who had accused her of pushing in.

When the victim pointed him out to Virasami, her boyfriend approached the wrong person and immediately punched Mr Tripp.
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Michael Worsley, QC, prosecuting told the jury: "Her boyfriend had hit what turned out to be the wrong person who was lying on the floor bleeding and she says 'We need to find the right guy'.

"When you are considering what her purpose and intent was at the time when she fetched or caused the other defendant to come to the premises, when you are considering her state of mind, these words give a significant clue."

Mr Tripp - an ME sufferer from Colliers Wood in south-west London – died shortly after the attack in hospital. He had a five-year-old daughter.

In a statement, his partner Josie James said: "That he was able to be such a strong and supportive partner, father and brother, despite being affected by ME is testament to his character.

"One of the last images my Rianna and I have of Kev is in the hospital on apparatus to keep him alive, bruised, yellow and so very, very cold.

"I have to explain to our five-year-old daughter... she talks about daddy having all the wires in him."

Richardson and Virasami are to be sentenced at a later date.

(JM/BMcC)

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