Have-a-go hero dies protecting wife and store in River Road, Barking

Police at the scene of the incident on Monday

Police at the scene of the incident on Monday - Credit: Archant

Detectives are investigating the murder of a have-a-go hero who tried to stop a gang of men armed with metal bars and a sledge hammer from robbing his cash and carry.

Father-of-two Shammi Atwal was killed when one of the men pushed him in front of a moving lorry in River Road, Barking, at about 10.20am on Monday.

Police said he had chased the group of up to 10 men from Glenn and Co cash and carry — the store he owned with his wife.

The lorry driver stopped at the scene. No arrests have been made.

Ambulance crews pronounced Mr Atwal, believed to be in his 40s, dead at the scene just after 11am and treated his wife, 37, for minor injuries.

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Det Ch Insp Neale Baldock, of the Met’s Homicide and Major Crime Command, said: “He acted bravely in defence of his wife and managed to chase the robbers from his premises only for him to be pushed in front of a moving lorry.

“People in the community know who committed this appalling and cowardly crime and I would urge them to contact my officers.”

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Serdar Gurgur, who works at nearby Thames Cafe, said Mr Atwal was a regular customer.

“This is very sad,” Mr Gurgur said. “He was a very nice man, with two children. His daughter is only about two. I didn’t see it happen but spoke to some people who did. They saw these men put on masks and run in. At least one had a hammer.

“When they came out Shammi was chasing them and there was a fight between him and one of the thieves. Then he was hit by a lorry.”

Enquiries are under way into how the men fled the scene. Police were unable to confirm whether anything had been stolen. Formal identification of Mr Atwal has yet to take place, though detectives were satisfied that he was the victim.

A post-mortem examination is due to take place.

Anyone who was in the area at the time, or who has information about the incident, should call police on 020 8345 1570 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

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