A 39-year-old Indian software consultant from Mangalore was stabbed to death by an unknown assailant as she walked to her home in Sydney, Australia, on Saturday evening.
Prabha Shetty, the mother of a nine-year-old girl, was on the phone with her husband in Bangalore when she was attacked, probably by someone who wanted to rob her. He heard her scream on the phone, and she told him she had been stabbed before the line went dead, a member of the couple’s family said.
Prabha was stabbed in Parramatta Park in the Sydney suburb of Westmead in an attack local police described as “horrific”, PTI reported. Prabha, a senior technical analyst with the Bangalore-headquartered IT consultancy firm Mindtree, was barely 300 m from her home when she was attacked.
Prabha’s husband G Arun Kumar, a Bangalore-based software engineer, told authorities in Bangalore that his wife had been working on a client project in Australia since 2012, and was due to return to India in April.
“Prabha disembarked from a train and called Arun on his mobile. She told Arun that she was being followed, and asked him to continue talking to her as she walked home. She told Arun that she had almost reached her home, after which she suddenly screamed, and told him that she had been stabbed. She continued to scream, and Arun could hear her tell her attacker to take her belongings. Then the call got disconnected,” Prabha’s brother-in-law, T Jayachandra, said.
The family immediately called the colleague with whom Prabha shared the house in Westmead. The colleague found Prabha lying in a pool of blood, and informed the authorities. Prabha was rushed to a private hospital, but was declared dead, Jayachandra said.
The assailant had stabbed Prabha in the abdomen and slit her throat, Jayachandra said, quoting doctors. Prabha’s husband Arun left for Sydney on Sunday to complete the autopsy formalities and collect his wife’s body. He is being assisted by Prabha’s elder brother, Dr Shankar Shetty, a doctor in Perth, Jayachandra said.
Prabha had a degree in computer science engineering. The couple’s daughter studies in Bangalore. In a statement, Prabha’s employer, Mindtree, said the attack was extremely “unfortunate” and “shocking”.
“Our prayers are with the family of the deceased. We are working with the officials of both the countries to help the family to bring the body back to India. We are providing all the necessary support to authorities investigating the case,” PTI quoted a company statement as saying.
The Daily Telegraph quoted a friend of Prabha’s as saying she had warned Prabha about the dangers of the park, and the possibility of being mugged.
“I told her that it is not a safe way to come through because there are people that stop and ask you for money, like two dollars. I don’t argue, I just give them the money. I would never walk through there…,” the newspaper quoted the woman as saying.
The woman said she would sometimes pick up Prabha from the station if she was working late, but Prabha hadn’t called her on Saturday, probably because “she felt bad to ask for help”.
The Daily Telegraph quoted Superintendent Wayne Cox of the Parramatta police as saying Prabha was attacked in a “lane way connected up to Amos Street in Westmead… by a person or unknown persons”, and “suffered a life threatening injury”.
“There was a large amount of blood so she obviously suffered a significant wound,” Cox was quoted as saying. The State Crime Command’s Homicide Squad is assisting Parramatta detectives in the case, the paper reported.