An Indian man who cut his wife’s throat eight times with a box cutter and left her bleeding to death in their western Sydney home was caught in a “triangle of desperation” that included fear of deportation, the defence in his murder trial has claimed.
But the prosecution says 24-year-old Chamanjot Singh killed his wife, Manpreet Kaur, because he was jealous of the friendships and social ties she had formed in her adopted country.
Singh is being tried for murdering Kaur on December 29, 2009, in the home they had recently moved into in Sydney.
On the opening day of the trial in the NSW Supreme Court yesterday, the Crown Prosecutor Paul Leask said Singh strangled his wife, then cut her throat as she screamed for the other members of the household to save her.
“Manpreet was shouting and crying: ‘Save me, Herleen! Save me, brother’,” one of Kaur’s housemates, Herleen Kaur, said in a statement to police.
According to that statement, Singh then opened the door and said “I’m going to die” before pushing her housemate’s husband, Jatinder Singh, out of the way and walking out of the house. Manpreet had been lying in a pool of blood behind him.
The victim’s sister, Jaspreet Kaur (28) told the court the couple had begun arguing almost immediately after Singh arrived in the country.
He had been angry about the cost of his wife’s college tuition, and had become jealous whenever his wife talked to one of her friends.
These arguments quickly became violent, she said, with Manpreet Kaur showing signs of physical abuse. “She came to me one day and started crying … She had a mark on her face and a bandage,” Herleen said.
She said that on the night of her sister’s death, the 29-year-old had called her in tears. “She said [Singh] wasn’t a good man and ‘Probably I will separate from him’.”
Singh does not dispute that he killed his wife. But he has pleaded guilty to manslaughter rather than murder, claiming that he was provoked.
His barrister, Chrissa Loukas, said he had been caught in a “triangle of desperation”. This triangle was allegedly created by the fact that his wife had engaged in adultery, by his fear of deportation, and by the severe financial and family pressure he was under.
Loukas said Singh’s violent attack on his wife had come immediately after she had admitted her adultery, describing this as “the final confession of something that he had been suspecting for some time”.