10 Dec 2015

Woman, lover found guilty of murder

5:25 pm on 10 December 2015

Amandeep Kaur laughed as she told her lover "we will go together" during a police interview with the pair on the day after they murdered her husband.

At the Auckland High Court (from left) Amandeep Kaur, a translator, another translator and Gurjinder Singh.

In the High Court in Auckland, from left: Amandeep Kaur, a translator, another translator and Gurjinder Singh. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

That was exactly what happened today, as a jury in the High Court in Auckland found her and Gurjinder Singh guilty of murdering her husband Davender Singh.

In another prophetic moment in the interview, Mrs Kaur told Gurjinder Singh: "If we did not love, it would not have happened."

The recorded police interview with the pair, where they discussed in their native Punjabi what they had revealed to investigators and who would take the blame, was a key part of the Crown's case.

The jurors asked to watch the interview a second time as they deliberated on their verdicts today.

At one point, Gurjinder Singh told Mrs Kaur she had framed him. He said she had told police everything "like a parrot".

He said he would not take the blame alone, and she also used the knife on Davender Singh as he sat in the driver's seat of his car, parked on Manukau's Norman Spencer Drive.

Norman Spencer Drive where  Davender Singh was found dead in his car in Papatoetoe.

Norman Spencer Drive, Auckland Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

At one point, Singh turned to a detective and told him it was Mrs Kaur who held her husband's hands down while he used the knife. He accused her of planning the murder and told detectives he had letters written in her handwriting.

When Mrs Kaur denied touching the knife, he told her: "My dear, you made the first strike ... I will not suffer alone."

She pleaded with him to take the blame, saying her son was now an orphan with a dead father and a mother in prison.

Singh reminded her he also had a son and his life was now over. He estimated he would be locked up for between 20 and 40 years, and incongruously mentioned he had just had new mags put on his new car.

Towards the end, Mrs Kaur laughed and said they would go together.

Amandeep Kaur standing in the dock at the Auckland High Court

Amandeep Kaur stands in the dock in the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

But that was where their arrangement to take equal blame ended.

At their four-week trial, the couple turned on each other, each blaming the other for stabbing and killing Davender Singh.

Mrs Kaur admitted she had been having an affair with Gurjinder Singh up until two days before the killing. She said she broke the affair off and also pulled out of a plan to murder her husband.

Gurjinder Singh reacted in anger, she said, and followed her and her husband before stabbing her husband repeatedly.

Gurjinder Singh (right) sitting in the dock at Auckland High Court with a translator (left).

Gurjinder Singh, right, sits in the dock with a translator. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Gurjinder Singh also changed his story. He denied having any part in the murder and said he approached Davender Singh's car to find him stabbed in the front seat with Mrs Kaur seated beside him.

He claimed she had framed him by threatening to go to the police if he didn't agree to take the knife and bloody clothing that police later found hidden in his garage.

But the Crown said both carried out the murder so they could be together.

Murder planned over three weeks

The frustrated love story began when the pair met at a plastics factory in South Auckland, where they worked as forklift drivers.

Both were caught in arranged marriages but that didn't stop them exchanging explicit text messages and meeting at a local hotel for sex.

Eventually, the affair was uncovered by Gurjinder Singh's wife, who noticed an unexplained hotel bill in his banking records. She told Mrs Kaur's husband, Davender Singh.

Mrs Kaur told the court her husband beat her regularly after that. He also made her wear a recording device and would phone her obsessively, often more than 10 times a day.

But the affair continued. The couple's phones went silent and, in an effort not to be found out, they turned to note writing.

These notes, mostly written by Mrs Kaur, show plans for her husband's murder were three weeks in the making and discussed how, where and when it would take place.

After Davender Singh picked Mrs Kaur up from work, they stopped on Norman Spencer Drive. Gurjinder Singh had followed, and it was the Crown's case that he stabbed Davender, repeatedly, including inflicting a neck wound that partially decapitated him.

Mrs Kaur also played a part, holding her husband's hands and preventing him from fighting back.

Gurjinder Singh took Davender's cellphone and Mrs Kaur waited two minutes before calling Davender's cousin. She told the cousin and a passer-by that she and her husband had been robbed by a stranger, who demanded cash before stabbing her husband.

It was only later, when confronted with CCTV footage that contradicted her fictitious story, that she came clean and identified her lover as the man with the knife.

But the jury found both were responsible and, after deliberating over two days, returned verdicts of guilty.

Neither defendant looked at one another as they were led into the cells.

They will be sentenced in February next year.

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