A SPURNED man allegedly murdered his older lover then made it appear she hung herself with a skipping rope, a High Court jury trial has heard in New Plymouth in New Zealand.
Fiji-born Shanal Sajesh Kumar, 29, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his former lover Dipti Patel, 42, in her garage on Gaine St in New Plymouth on or about April 7, 2009.
Stuff.co.nz reported Mrs Patel's husband of 19 years found her dead on the floor of the family's garage with one end of a skipping rope knotted tightly around her neck and the other end tied loosely around a garage truss. Although a Taranaki pathologist initially determined the death was suicide by hanging, Kumar was arrested in Auckland last year after an investigation by police, the court was told.
"The Crown says it will prove beyond reasonable doubt that you will be sure that Mrs Patel did not hang herself as that scene might at first appear," Crown solicitor Cherie Clarke said in opening the prosecution case.
"The skipping rope was used as a ligature around her neck to strangle and ultimately kill Mrs Patel," Mrs Clarke said.
"And the person who intended to kill her was Kumar, the same man seen by a property valuer in the garage on the morning of her death. The jury would hear expert evidence from a forensic pathologist who studied deaths by hanging and that of a knot expert from Canada," Mrs Clarke said.
She said Mrs Patel, an India-born woman, and Fiji-born Kumar were having an affair which began in 2008 and ended about February 2009.
New Plymouth pathologist James Hunt carried out an autopsy on April 9, 2009, telling both the police and the coroner that his conclusion was death due to hanging. However, he had noted a number of unusual factors. The trial is expected to take three to four weeks.