8 arrested in “collision” death of Indian restaurant manager in Reading, UK

Eight arrests have been made over the past week in the apparently accidental death of an Indian restaurant manager in Reading, south-east England. Police have begun a murder investigation and started rounding up suspects.

UK Indian restaurant owner Vignesh Pattabhiraman
UK Indian restaurant owner Vignesh Pattabhiraman, whose February 14, 2024, death is being treated as murder. Photo courtesy: crowdfunding page on justgiving.com

Vignesh Pattabhiraman, the 36-year-old Indian-origin manager of the Indian restaurant Vel in Reading, was killed in a road collision on February 14 while cycling home after work. He was hit by a vehicle at the Cadugan Place junction in the city.

Thames Valley Police said that he was declared dead after being rushed to the Royal Berkshire Hospital.

An individual named Shazeb Khalid, aged 24, arrested on suspicion of murder, has since been charged and appeared at Reading Magistrates Court yesterday.

Seven men — aged 20, 21, 24, 27, 31, 41, and 48, all from the same city — arrested on suspicion of assisting an offender, have all been released on bail.

“Our thoughts remain with the family of Mr Raman, who are being supported by specially trained officers,” said the senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Stuart Brangwin, of the Major Crime Unit, Thames Valley Police.

“We are continuing our investigation into the circumstances of his death, and arrests have now been made. I would like to take this opportunity to again appeal to anybody who has any information to please get in touch with Thames Valley Police,” said the detective.

The Major Crime Unit officers have said that there will continue to be a visible police presence in the area, while their investigation continues, in order to address any public concerns on site.

Meanwhile, a Just Giving charity initiative, set up by Pattabhiraman’s friends and family to help with repatriation costs and support for his grieving wife Ramya after the “senseless tragedy”, has raised over GBP 45,000 within days.

“Vignesh was a committed restaurant manager at Vel, where he poured his heart and soul into his work, earning recognition for his exceptionally warm nature, customer service, and work ethics. His dream of reaching a senior management position in the hotel industry was within reach, with an exciting opportunity awaiting him at Hyatt Regency Mayfair London,” reads the crowdfunding page.

“We are rallying together to support Vignesh’s grieving family during this unimaginably difficult time. Your generous contributions will provide much-needed financial assistance to help cover repatriation cost, funeral expenses, support his grieving wife, Ramya, and ease the burden on his family as they navigate this profound loss,” it adds.