10 Feb 2016

Lovers get 17 years' jail for killing husband

5:15 pm on 10 February 2016

Amandeep Kaur wiped tears from her eyes as she was told her son would never forgive her for killing his father.

A jury found Kaur and her lover, Gurjinder Singh, guilty of murdering Kaur's husband following a trial in November last year.

Today, the pair were sentenced in the High Court in Auckland to life with a minimum non-parole period of 17 years in prison.

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Amandeep Kaur and Gurjinder Singh will spend at least 17 years in prison for the murder of Mrs Kaur's husband. Photo: RNZ / Claire Eastham-Farrelly

Victim impact statements from Davender Singh's family in India were read out at today's hearing, including one from his mother, Sukhvinder Kaur.

Mrs Kaur, who is now looking after her 13-year-old grandson, said the boy would never forgive his mother for killing his father.

Amandeep Kaur wiped tears from her eyes as the statement was read in court.

She and Singh blamed each other for the murder of Davender Singh in August 2014.

Kaur conceded the pair wrote notes to each other while they worked as forklift drivers at a South Auckland plastics factory.

Those notes spoke of love and a longing to be with one another, but they also planned where, when and how the murder would take place.

Kaur said she pulled out of the plan just days before the murder but Gurjinder Singh followed the couple's car and repeatedly stabbed her husband.

Singh's case was that by the time he arrived at the couple's car, Davender Singh had already been stabbed.

Justice Lang found while Gurjinder Singh was likely to have carried out the stabbing, Amandeep Kaur would have held her husband down and had been heavily involved in the planning.

He found them equally to blame.

'We will go together'

That finding echoed the sentiment of a recorded police interview with the pair that featured heavily at their trial.

During the interview, Kaur laughed as she told Singh "we will go together".

In another prophetic moment, she told him: "If we did not love, it would not have happened."

The interview, in which the pair 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.

At one point, Singh told Kaur she had framed him and had told police everything "like a parrot".

He said he would not take the blame alone, and she also used the knife on 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.

Mr Singh was found dead in his car on Norman Spencer Drive in Manukau in August 2014. Photo: RNZ / Kim Baker Wilson

At one point, Singh turned to a detective and told him Kaur 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 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, Kaur laughed and said they would go together.

Frustrated love

The frustrated love story began when Kaur and Singh met at the plastics factory where they both 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 Singh's wife, who noticed an unexplained hotel bill in his banking records. She told Kaur's husband, Davender Singh.

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 Kaur, showed 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 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.

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

Gurjinder Singh took Davender's cellphone and 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.

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