British born Mitul Shah is a real modern day hero who made the ultimate sacrifice without a second thought, his own life to save a group of children. I have no idea which religion he was. He could quite possibly of even been Muslim going off his name. Which ever religion he was is irrelevant really , he will still of died a hero. There is very few people who would of done the same in his shoes so unselfishly. He has restored my faith in mankind by proving there are still some good people about in the world
Revealed: How hero father died in Kenyan mall massacre after offering himself as a hostage to save lives of group of children
- London-born Mitul Shah was killed in the Kenyan mall massacre
- The 38-year-old died after he offered to become a hostage to save children
- Tributes have poured in honouring ‘a selfless man and a born leader’
By SARA MALM PUBLISHED: 16:39, 27 September 2013 | UPDATED: 20:09, 27 September 2013
A British man who offered himself as a hostage to save the lives of a group of children was today described by colleagues as a ‘born leader’.
Mitul Shah, 38, a sales executive from London attempted to strike a deal with the terrorists, replacing children with himself, a heroic act which gave several victims vital time to escape.
The selfless father did not get through to the gunmen and was shot alongside a number of children in the Kenyan tragedy, leaving behind his wife and two-year-old daughter.
Today his employers, the cooking oil company Bidco Oil, and his work colleagues spoke of their grief at his loss.
The firm said in a statement: ‘He was a born leader and an inspiring soul loved by one and all.’
Mr Shah, who was born in April 1975 in North London, held dual British and Kenyan citizenship.
After going to school in Kenya, he studied management science with computing at Kent University in Canterbury, Kent and obtained a Bachelor of Science degree.
He then joined Bidco Oil Refineries in Kenya as a management trainee and worked his way up to become a team leader in the marketing department.
Mr Shah, who leaves a widow, Rupal, and daughter Sarai, was killed moments after he was helping 33 children taking part in a TV cooking contest on the roof of the Westgate centre in Nairobi.
The event was being sponsored by his company.
One of the directors of Bidco, Dipak Shah, said today that his family and colleagues were all devastated.
He said: ‘He was trying to negotiate the freedom of the children in order for him to be taken as a hostage.
’Some had managed to save their lives, but unfortunately he, and others, did not.
’It was a heroic and brave act – a true reflection of his soul. He was a wonderful person who always went out of his way, beyond the call of duty, to help others.’
He said that, like his family, everyone at the company was grieving his death.
He said: ‘We are anguished and shell-shocked at the turn of events. The tragic loss of our colleague and brother has created a vacuum in our heart as much as it has in our organisation.
‘All employees who have known him for long and short periods concur that he was an immensely effective leader, easy to get along with – on a personal level, very caring and concerned and on a professional level, highly dedicated and motivated.
’He was highly talented and has enriched the lives of everyone he has come across.
’It is a big, very big loss -not just for the family or for Bidco but for Kenya also as he loved this country with great passion and fervour.’
The company said in a statement: ‘Bidco is grieved to announce the sad and untimely demise of Mr Mitul Shah.
‘He was among the first casualties of the Westgate Siege – losing his life in the first bout of attack, presumably killed while trying to protect some children who were assembled to participate or witness a cooking challenge.’
He had helped the firm win a number of industry awards and was also an accomplished sportsman, the company said.
He had taken part in endurance races, swimathons and had climbed both Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Kenya.
‘He was young, dynamic, enterprising, hardworking & well focused person as well as the youngest team leader in Bidco, ‘the statement added.
The avid Manchester United fan was also president of the company’s football team.
Work colleagues paid tribute to Mr Shah on the internet.
One, named Alkane, wrote: ‘He is a real hero and had an option to run away but he opted to become a saviour of kids without wasting a second.
‘This says it all about Mitul. I salute him for his decision. I am very much thankful to God that I had an opportunity to spend time with such great soul.’
Mr Shah’s workmate Roberts Libosso said: ‘He touched every one of us through his warm affection and sensitivity coupled with brilliant leadership skills.
’Mr Shah was a born leader – the circumstances surrounding his death fit the above qualities because he was concerned about the lives of the children whom he could not leave behind.’
A third friend, Sarah Njeru, said: ‘I cannot even begin to describe the loss, the sadness, the love, the hole in our heart.
‘I want to see my office extension screen say ‘Mitul calling’ but I can’t. We will forever cherish you. Rest In Peace boss.’