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#20,000 award announced to nab killer

Balbir Matharu, originally from Punjab, was mown down as he tried to stop two thieves stealing his #70 car stereo.

india Updated: Jan 25, 2006 19:27 IST

A reward of £20,000 has been announced to find the killers of an Indian businessman, who was dragged under a car for 40 metres in a bungled robbery.

Balbir Matharu, 54, originally from Punjab, was mown down as he tried to stop two thieves stealing his £70 car stereo. He confronted the men who had smashed the window of his white van parked outside the builders' merchants in Stratford, east London, where he worked.

The men fled empty handed in a dark green or blue Ford Mondeo but Matharu ran across to the exit and stood in front of them. The driver accelerated, ran him over and dragged him along for 40 metres. He died in hospital that afternoon from multiple injuries.

Matharu had been due to take over the running of the builders' yard on February 1 this year. His wife of 30 years, Sukhvinder, 51, worked next door at the double-glazing firm run by his son Inderjit, 25, and his wife Baljinder.

On Tuesday detectives announced a £20,000 reward for information leading to the arrest and prosecution of the murderers. The driver is described as 25, European in appearance with a Mediterranean or East European complexion. He was clean-shaven.

DCI John Macdonald, from the Specialist Crime Directorate East, said: "We hope the offer of this substantial reward will encourage anyone with information about the identity of the suspects to come forward. We will treat all information in the strictest confidence, and you can speak to Crimestoppers anonymously if you don't feel able to ring the incident room direct. Matharu was a decent hardworking man and a loving father and husband and for the sake of his family we need to trace the people who so callously mowed him down and left him dying in the street."

The family, who now live in Forest Gate, had moved from Leicester four years ago.

First Published: Jan 25, 2006 19:27 IST