A 22-YEAR-OLD Catford student was beaten to death by a mob who set on him like a “pack of animals” in Lewisham High Street, a court heard.

Thierry Christian-Gnanakumar’s skull was smashed by more than a dozen attackers using an arsenal of weapons – including cricket bats, hockey sticks and metal poles – an Old Bailey jury was told on July 23.

The third year biomedical science student, who had been out celebrating a friend’s birthday, was found by emergency services outside Lewisham Library on November 10 last year at 9.20pm. He died in hospital the following day.

Eight men – who, like the victim, are all of Sri Lankan Tamil origin - are currently on trial for his murder.

Prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told the court: “'Like a pack of animals, they overwhelmed the slowest and last of their fleeing targets.

“That particular victim was repeatedly beaten about his head.

'It was such a ferocious onslaught that his skull was quite literally in pieces - to the point that his brain protruded out of his head.”

He went on to say the motive of the attack was not yet clear but might emerge during the course of the trial.

Jurors heard friends of the victim tried to defend themselves using beer bottles and even a wooden post used to support a tree, but the attackers were better armed.

After inflicting the fatal blows, they sped away from the scene in the same convoy of three cars in which they had arrived, the court heard.

Kohulan Podiappuhamey, 24, of Woodyates Road, Lee; Jeyaruban Vivekananthan, 26, of Nightingale Heights, Greenwich; Pirunthan Kunaratnam, 23, of Arkindale Road, Bellingham; Jius Vijashimghe, 28, of Baizdon Road, Blackheath; Kaviolan Venayakamoorthy, 24, of Eastdown Park, Lewisham; Rubesius Selvaratnam, 21, of St Filans Road, Catford; Jeyasuthan Theiventhirmpillai, 33, of Minstead Way, New Malden, all south London; and Aathavan Rajakumar, 24, of no fixed address, all deny murder and violent disorder.

The trial continues.