June 13, 2011
A father of three was mown down and killed as he tried to stop a thief snatching his delivery van in a quiet village, it emerged yesterday.
Charles Bunyasi, 49, was delivering flowers for a small firm to boost his income on a day off from his job with a local council.
But an opportunist thief jumped into his white Transit van as he stopped in a tree-lined street in Coulsdon, Surrey.
Witnesses said Mr Bunyasi tried to open the passenger door as the van roared away.
He was knocked to the ground and suffered catastrophic head injuries when he was pulled under the wheels.
Neighbours ran out to help Mr Bunyasi, who was left for dead with blood pouring from his wounds.
Paramedics took the victim to St George’s Hospital in Tooting but he died seven hours later with his wife at his bedside.
One neighbour said: â€˜He must have gone over him with the back wheels â€“ it was just horrible. He was groaning in pain, and was making a terrible noise like he was choking.’
â€˜I saw a man running past next door’s driveway. I looked back to do my gardening, and then I heard the van’s engine revving and screeching as it pulled away.
â€˜I looked up because of the noise and I saw the passenger door opening â€“ the man must have seen what was happening and had gone back to try and get in the van. Then I saw this guy falling on the floor.’
The woman said she ran inside to dial 999 while another woman, who said she was trained in first aid, went to Mr Bunyasi’s side and another witness gave chase in his car.
Last night, relatives and friends were gathering at Mr Bunyasi’s semi-detached home in Mitcham, South London, where he lived with his wife and children, the eldest of whom is 16.
One friend said: â€˜Everyone is completely devastated and confused by what has happened. We just can’t believe it. The family are too stunned to talk publicly.’
The incident took place on Saturday morning. Detectives believe the thief abandoned a blue van at the scene after noticing
that Mr Bunyasi had left the keys in the ignition. A 28-year-old man was arrested on suspicion of murder after he handed himself in at a South London police station yesterday morning.
Last night investigators were still hunting for the white van, registration NG56 WSZ, which they believe has been dumped nearby.
Detective Chief Inspector Cliff Lyons, leading the murder inquiry, said Mr Bunyasi was as â€˜an honest man making an honest living’.
He added: â€˜He was a working man who had two jobs to supplement his income and to support his family.
â€˜That day he did not expect to go to work and expect to lose his life because of the callous criminal actions of another person.
â€˜The consequences of these type of incidents in respect of the family are far-reaching.’
Mr Bunyasi’s death has disturbing echoes of the murder of father of two Balbir Matharu in Stratford, East London, in January
Builder Mr Matharu, 54, was dragged under a car for 40 metres after he tried to stop two men from stealing his van.
Drug addict brothers Albert and Tommy Willett, condemned as â€˜scumbags’ by police, were jailed for life.