Shopkeeper Death: Tribute

17 April 2013, 12:21 | Updated: 17 April 2013, 12:28

The family of a Bedford convenience store manager who has died after being found with serious head injuries have paid tribute to him.

Vairamuthu Thiyagarajah, 56, (right) was found injured in the flat in which he lived above MK Food and Wine on Elstow Road at 5.30pm of Sunday 7 April 2013.

He was taken to Addenbrookes Hospital, Cambridge.  He died on Thursday 11 April.

Another resident of the flat was arrested when the police arrived at the scene and he appeared at Luton Magistrates Court on the morning of Thursday 11 April, charged with causing grievous bodily harm with intent.

Thilak Mohan-Raj, 25, was remanded in custody and was due to appear at Luton Crown Court on Wednesday 24 April.  The charges against him will be reviewed by the Crown Prosecution Service in the light of Mr Thiyagarajah’s death.

Speaking on behalf of her family, Mr Thiyagarajah’s youngest daughter, 21-year-old pharmacology student Sumithra, described her father as smart, kind and funny.

“Dad was fun and laid back; he always kept us laughing and was constantly cracking jokes. He was a very good friend and uncle to everybody, a great dad.  He was kind to everyone and spoke to all, from the smallest child upwards.

“He absolutely loved his grandchildren to bits and was proud of us all. He was so looking forward to my graduation this summer and was then planning a holiday to Sri Lanka afterwards. We are part of a very big family; he was one of eight siblings while mum was one of nine. His own mother is still in Sri Lanka. 

“From his very young age, he had a very tough up-bringing growing up in a war ravaged country and had to work extremely hard to provide for the family.  This tough up-bringing had taught him how important it is to value everything in life no matter how small, this is something that Dad has instilled into all of us and I am sure this will stand us in good stead for the rest of our lives.  

“He enjoyed reading and music, was a really good singer and often sang to us. He also was a very good cook, very particular about his food and made beautiful meat dishes.

“This has been very hard to accept, we feel like we are standing still, frozen. He was fit and cycled,    he never got ill or took any medication so seeing him in hospital was really hard.”

“He was a towering figure providing support and guidance to not only the immediate family, but for the wider friends and family circle.  We are going to terribly miss the support and encouragement that Dad had provided all throughout our lives, especially at times when we most needed it.  I really don’t know how our lives will move on without him, I wish all the events of past week was just a bad dream.” 

Family friend Ushanthini Satkunanathan said: “I never saw him sad. He was such a good father, a good friend; he was always laughing and messing about. He treated his son-in-laws like his own sons, they were very close. There has been nothing but tears and crying since we heard the news.”      

Mr Thiyagarajah, originally from Sri Lanka, had been living in England for 21 years, He leaves behind his wife Thavamalar, son Manoranjan, daughters Subashini, Suganthini, Sutharsini and Sumithra as well as three son-in-laws, a daughter-in-law and four grandchildren.