7:40am Monday 30th April 2012
By Tom Barnes
Two men who stole alcohol, toiletries and sweets from a New Malden petrol station have been found guilty of theft.
Hajendra Saravanababanantha, 26, of Rowan Road, Streatham, and Kabiloan Venayakamoorthy, 23, of Eastdown Park, Lewisham, were convicted of stealing from the Murco garage in Kingston Road on October 15 last year.
The Tamil men had been on trial for robbery, accused of intimidating the cashier.
But after deliberating on the evidence for more than three hours, a jury at Kingston Crown court on Friday came back with the lesser verdict of theft.
The court had heard how the pair were friends with Sri Lankan cashier Mahes Tharmashaar, who allegedly fled the country the day after the incident, and that they had an “arrangement” over shop goods.
Both men said they had not told police about the deal because they did not want to get Mr Tharmashaar in trouble, a claim described as nonsense by the prosecutor.
CCTV footage showed Saravanababanantha had been pulled away from the cashier, although he insisted he was acting a peacemaker following an argument between Mr Tharmashaar and another member of the group.
The pair were among a group of four youths who arrived in a BMW and who the prosecutor claimed had threatened the cashier through the night window until he agreed to let them into the main kiosk.
After entering the shop one of the unknown suspects was seen on CCTV trying to scale the counter to get at the shop worker but was pulled back by members of the group.
Mr Tharmashaar did not tell his manager about the incident, or report the crime to police and is believed to have fled the country.
The pair are due to be sentenced at Kingston Crown Court on May 2.
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