Seven Kings triple stabbing: Killer acted in self defence, hears inquest

Inquest into Seven Kings stabbings set for September

L:R: Harinder Kumar, Malkit Singh Dhillon and Narinder Singh Lubhaya - Credit: Met Police

A man who stabbed three men to death in Seven Kings was acting in self-defence, an inquest heard. 

Narinder Singh Lubhaya, 29, Harinder Kumar, 30, and Malkit Singh Dhillon, 37, died after a triple stabbing in Salisbury Road on January 19, 2020. 

On Tuesday, September 28, Walthamstow Coroner’s Court – currently sitting at the Adult College of Barking and Dagenham – heard how the three men came to their deaths after they and two other men ambushed Gurjeet Singh, 30, who defended himself with a blade. 

The deceased were Indian nationals employed as construction workers and living in Ilford, the court was told.

The inquest opened in January 2020 but proceedings were delayed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. 

Graeme Irvine, acting senior coroner for east London, arrived at a conclusion of lawful killing in relation to all of the deceased. 

While he described the deaths as “senseless” and accepted that Gurjeet had caused them, he also accepted that Gurjeet’s only intention had been to defend himself against “a real and immediate threat to his life”. 

Det Sgt Dolores Connolly told the court how the dispute had begun the evening before the deaths, January 18, during a naming ceremony celebration at Krystel Banqueting Suite in High Road, Ilford, attended by members of the Seven Kings Sikh community. 

She explained that during the course of the event there was a violent disagreement involving Gurjeet and the deceased, which Gurjeet ran away from. 

Enquiries made following the deaths of the three men indicated that this disagreement had led some participants to seek retribution against Gurjeet, the court heard. 

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Gurjeet gave evidence to the court, through a translator, explaining that on January 19 he was informed that some “not good men” were looking for him, intent on doing him harm.  

Fearing reprisals, he decided to arm himself with a knife, he told the court. 

He explained that he had “no intention of using it” but that he felt that if there was an altercation he could “just show the knife”. 

Det Sgt Connolly said that a group of five men – including Narinder, Harinder and Malkit, along with Harpreet Singh, 28, and Sandeep Singh, 29 – made plans to ambush Gurjeet after he left a gurdwara on the evening of January 19. 

This information, she said, came from the testimony of Harpreet Singh, who told police how the group had split into two vehicles. 

One – containing Sandeep Singh, Malkit, and Narinder – drove to Salisbury Road, while the other – containing Harpreet Singh and Harinder – followed Gurjeet as he walked along High Road. 

When Gurjeet was confronted by the three men in Salisbury Road, the court heard he pulled a knife from his jacket before turning to run down an alleyway, only to be confronted by Harinder – who had descended a set of stairs from High Road – in what the coroner described as an “organised pincer movement”. 

Gurjeet described to the court how at this point the five men attacked him, hitting him on the head and shoulders with heavy objects. 

Det Sgt Connolly told proceedings that a hammer, knuckle duster, spanner and an adjustable wrench were all found at the scene. 

The inquest heard from Gurjeet that during the melee he was “blindly lashing out” with the blade in a “state of extreme fear”. 

At some point he said he was able to escape the altercation, after which Harinder and Malkit fell to the floor. 

The court was told Narinder and Sandeep left the scene, but Narinder later died from his injuries. 

Officers attempted to resuscitate the three men until the London Ambulance Service arrived, but all three were pronounced dead at the scene at 8.15pm. 

A post-mortem conducted by Dr Charlotte Randall determined that the cause of death for both Narinder and Harinder was a stab wound to the chest, while the cause of death for Malkit was stab wounds to the neck and chest. 

Gurjeet was treated for head injuries and lacerations at King George Hospital, where he was later arrested. 

Det Sgt Connolly told the court that police were advised by the Crown Prosecution Service that there was not enough evidence for a murder or manslaughter charge for Gurjeet. 

Gurjeet was found not guilty of possessing an offensive weapon at Snaresbrook Crown Court last August.

Mr Irvine said that Gurjeet “could not have avoided the altercation” and that he was “not looking for a fight” but rather “running away at speed”. 

He said that the dead men and their associates had “hatched a plan” to ambush Gurjeet, who was engaged in a “fight for his life” when he stabbed the three men. 

Sandeep Singh, of Montpelier Gardens, Chadwell Heath, was jailed for four years after admitting last August to charges of conspiracy to commit grievous bodliy harm (GBH) and causing GBH with intent on Gurjeet.

Harpreet Singh, also of Montpelier Gardens, Chadwell Heath, was sentenced to 12 months imprisonment after pleading guilty to conspiring to commit assault.

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