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Man who died in Shirley hit and run escaped war-torn Sri Lanka for a better life

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A MAN who died in a hit and run collision in Shirley on Sunday evening was an asylum seeker who escaped the Sri Lankan civil war for a better life.

Jeyaratnam Kandiah, 43, was returning from dinner at a friend's house, using a pedestrian crossing on Wickham Road near Spring Park Road just before 9pm, when he was hit by a dark BMW which failed to stop.

Witnesses reported seeing Mr Kandiah thrown "10 feet" into the air by the collision, with one resident saying she had seen the car overtake another and drive "through a red light" at up to 60 miles an hour.

He was pronounced dead at the scene after paramedics, and a doctor who happened to be in a passing car, worked to save his life.

A tribute to Mr Kandiah, also known as Selvam, made up of flowers, candles and a short poem, has been left near to where he died on Wickham Road.

His friends have since said he was a "caring and considerate" volunteer who helped Tamil children and did odd jobs in the community.

Mr Kandiah arrived in the UK in 2000 after fleeing the country's northern city Jaffna because of trouble with government forces. He lived in Tooting before moving to Croydon eight years ago. He lived in Spring Park Road, just yards from the crossing.

The owner of a cafe in Shirley, who saw the aftermath of the collision, said he heard a "big bang" outside.

"Other people who saw it said the car could have been going as fast as 60 miles an hour," he said.

"We tried to keep him comfortable and people from the nearby pub brought out blankets to help. It's very very sad."

"People said the driver slowed down, looked back and then drove off. There are no skid marks on the road, so he can't have jammed the brakes on."

Police officers investigating the collision have asked for anyone who was in the area at the time of the collision and witnessed this incident to come forward.

They are still trying to trace the driver of the BMW, which they say would have received damage to its front.

Anyone with information is asked to call 0208 285 1574 or call Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Man who died in Shirley hit and run escaped war-torn Sri Lanka for a better life


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