TWO Hayes teenagers are starting long jail sentences for murdering an innocent 16-year-old boy in Southall.

They had mistakenly thought their victim belonged to a rival gang.

Vanushan Balakrishnan, 18, of Waylands, and Ilyas Suleiman, 18, of St Jerome’s Grove, were sentenced at the Old Bailey today (10) for the murder of Rishmeet Singh.

Balakrishnan was sentenced to life, with a minimum of 24 years, and Suleiman to life, with a minimum of 21 years.

They were both found guilty of murder at the same court in March.

Det Insp Laura Semple said: “Rishmeet had his whole life ahead of him. He had just spent an enjoyable evening with friends and was making the short walk home when he was callously chased down and knifed to death.

“Between them, they stabbed him 15 times while he was defenceless on the floor.

“Balakrishnan and Suleiman left the flat that day with the intention of ending someone’s life. Poor Rishmeet was simply in the wrong place, at the wrong time.”

Rishmeet came to the UK in October 2019 with his mother and grandmother, to seek asylum from Jalalabad in Afghanistan.

His father had been killed by the Taliban six months earlier and, shortly after, they tried to kidnap Rishmeet – forcing the family to flee.

In a statement, Rishmeet’s mother, Gulinder, said: “No words could ever explain or put into context how I have felt since Rishmeet was taken from us.

“He has been raised with so much love and now he’s gone. I am struggling to understand as to how and why this happened to my baby boy. I feel I have lost everything and my life is over.”

Rishmeet had just left his friends after a pleasant evening in the park in Southall and was walking home when he saw two unknown males running towards him.

He turned into Raleigh Road, Southall, where he tripped and fell. One of his pursuers then stabbed him at least five times in the back. Seconds later, the second person also began to stab Rishmeet – at least 10 times.

The whole attack, from when Rishmeet tripped, lasted 27 seconds.

Balakrishnan and Suleiman, who were 17 at the time, were captured on CCTV fleeing the scene. They were clearly identifiable from the distinctive clothing and Covid masks they were wearing.