A 47-year-old Indian-origin man in New Zealand was on Thursday sentenced to life for murdering his estranged wife while he was out on bail for breaching a protection order she had taken against him.
The High Court in Wellington sentenced Rajeshwar Singh to a mandatory life sentence with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years and a concurrent sentence of three months’ jail for breaching two protection orders.
Singh, a taxi driver, pleaded guilty in May to killing Sarwan Lata and two charges of breaching protection orders, the New Zealand Herald reported.
In November last year, he stabbed her to death after bypassing her home’s new locks and an elaborate warning system of vases and chairs that Lata had laid.
He had been granted bail the previous month while facing a charge of breaching a protection order. The order prevented him from seeing her or being near her house, but he had been constantly near her home in the weeks leading up to the murder.
Justice Ronald Young said a probation officer report showed Singh had a deeply worrying attitude to women.
“You considered that you were entitled to kill her. You had a callous disregard for your wife and her family,” Young said.
“You did not understand, or did not appreciate, that men do not control women. Your wife was perfectly entitled to not live with you,” he said.
Aggravating factors included the home invasion – in breach of bail conditions and a protection order – and that the murder was planned. He had also been stalking her before the murder.
The couple had come together in an arranged marriage in Fiji in 1991 and moved to New Zealand in 1998. The couple had a son who suffered from muscular dystrophy and died in 2011.
The couple had a long history of physical and mental abuse. There were nine reported incidents of family violence since September 2003, and countless unreported incidents during their 22 years of marriage, police said.
In September 2008, the Porirua District Court granted Lata a protection order against her husband on the basis of an attack that month. Singh received two formal warnings for breaching the protection order in August 2012 and February 2013.
In October 2013, he made 38 abusive and threatening phone calls to her. He was arrested and was granted bail on condition that he not contact Lata or go to her house.
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