A MURDER investigation has been launched following the death of a father of two, 15 years after he was brutally attacked in Acton.

Rajesh Verma, 42 at the time, was assaulted by a group of up to eight men, close to the entrance of Acton Park, opposite Birkbeck Grove, on August 31 2003. He suffered severe brain damage.

No suspect was arrested or charged.

Rajesh was treated at hospital before being discharged. However, he was left with ongoing health issues due to damage to his brain from a stab wound.

In 2015, he had a major heart attack, which resulted in a lack of oxygen to his brain that further complicated the existing damage. This rendered him unresponsive and unable to move or speak for the last 18 months of his life.

Rajesh also suffered from epilepsy as a result of the stab wound and broke his hip in 2017 during a fitting episode. He died in 2018.

The case has now be classified as a murder investigation and a £20,000 reward is being offered for any information that leads to the conviction of his killer.

Det Chief Insp Noel McHugh said: “The attack involved ferocious violence by a group of men, one of whom, stabbed him in the head with a set of garden shears.

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“We believe Rajesh was attacked after he intervened in a dispute between one of his friends and another individual.

“The suspects are believed to be local to the Acton area and are likely to still be living there or have links to the area. All were described as being of East African appearance.

“This is a shocking crime and I’m in no doubt that people will have chatted and boasted about it.

Anyone with information is asked to call detectives on 020 8785 8099 or contact Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.

Rajesh’s wife, Roma, said: “Our children were 11 and 13 when their lives were turned upside down. We chose to care for him at home in the way he had cared for all of us.

“Each member of the family helped to care for him. He was unable to think, move, talk or walk, but we still felt he could feel our presence and persevered. Life was all about him, but we all had hope.

“He was a very popular man in Acton. Hundreds paid their respects at his funeral. There were friends and family but also homeless people and business people he had helped tirelessly.”