A 20-YEAR-OLD has been found guilty of killing a Bexleyheath television executive whose body was found in the boot of a burning car.
Gagandip Singh, aged 21, of Langdale Crescent, Bexleyheath, died on February 26 last year.
His body was found in the boot of a blue Mercedes C-class in Angerstein Lane, Blackheath, at around 2am.
At the Old Bailey today screams from the public gallery greeted the verdict as 20-year-old Harinder Shoker (also known as Ravi) of Charlton Park Lane, Charlton, was found guilty of murder in a majority verdict.
Darren Peters, of Shooters Hill Road, Blackheath, aged 20, was found guilty of manslaughter.
Mundill Mahil, aged 20, of Regent Guest House, Maidstone Road, Chatham was cleared of murder but found guilty of GBH with intent. She was left in tears by the verdict.
During the trial the court heard that in August 2010, Mr Singh had attempted to rape Mahil, and after this incident, the once close friends fell out.
It was alleged that Mahil lured Mr Singh to her student house in Brighton where Peters and Shoker lay in wait to attack him.
After beating him up he was put in the boot of the car and driven to Blackheath where the car was set alight.
Although Mr Singh had suffered severe head injuries, a post mortem gave the cause of death as inhalation of fire fumes.
Jurors had deliberated for 40 hours in the case.
A statement read outside court on behalf of Mr Singh’s family described him as “always a happy person trying to make us laugh”.
The family said the trial was harder this week because it marked the anniversary of Mr Singh’s death.
The statement said: “Words are not enough to express the great loss of our son and brother.
“On a day to day basis there is a gap in our lives and a sense of loneliness.
"This verdict means we can now move forward but we will never get over the loss Gargan. However, for Gargan's mother, life has ground to a halt and will never be the same again."
Detective Superintendent Damian Allain, of the Homicide and Serious Crime Command, said described Mahil as “calculating” and that far from being the victim she claimed to be “was at the heart of a criminal conspiracy” by luring Mr Singh to Brighton to where he was seriously assaulted and died.
DS Allain said: “All this from a medical student embarking upon a career in a caring profession. I have no doubt that had it not been for her deceit and trickery, Gagandip would not have been murdered on that fateful night.”
DS Allain said Mr Singh’s family had acted with the “utmost dignity” throughout the investigation and trial “despite having to listen to the lies proffered in the defence cases for all three defendants”.
Mum: “I was completely and utterly broken”
In a victim impact statement, Mr Singh’s mother Tajinder Kaur said she was “completely and utterly broken” when she learn of her son’s death and could not describe an average day since because they have all blended into one.
She said: “When I first learnt of Gagandip's death I was completely and utterly broken. I could barely function on a day-to-day basis and stumbled through each day not really knowing what was going on.
Mrs Kaur said her husband died not long before Mr Singh. She said: “In the early stages I couldn't hold a conversation without breaking down in tears and there were occasions when the police had to call an ambulance for me after I collapsed.
“I am desperately trying to keep my family together and retain the respect we had when Gagandip was alive.
She said she was desperately trying to keep the family together and that Mr Singh’s grandparents have “really struggled” with his death and said there was a “great hole” in their lives which compounds her grief.
She said: “They cannot reconcile the fact that a grandchild has died before the grandparents and see it as completely unnatural. As a mother I cannot even begin to find the right words to express the loss I feel.
“I suffer from heart problems which have not improved and I sometimes struggle to cope physically.
“Since Gagandip's death I feel like my heart is completely broken and taken away from me is my son and a source of joy in my day. My family now consists of only me and my daughter. I always think how different our lives could be if Gagandip were still here. I grieve not only for the loss I feel personally as a mother but also for a future that now looks far different without my son in it.”
A sister’s pain : “Since his death I have felt utterly adrift.”
In a victim impact statement Mr Singh’s sister, Amandip Singh said she was in “complete shock” when the police first came to her house to tell her about her brother’s death.
She said: “I wasn't so much upset because I was so confused and wasn't really sure how to react. Gagandip was always my support and was the person I always looked to when I was upset. He helped me to understand and deal with emotions and so the night when the police came I was totally and completely lost. He was a constant source of support in my life, emotionally and practically.
“Since his death I have felt utterly adrift and often incapable of coping with the grief of his death.
“When I was much younger I would have trouble sleeping and didn't like to sleep alone. Gagan was the person who reassured me and built up my confidence that I could sleep normally. Since his death I have reverted to sleeping with the light on and generally do not sleep well. Gagan's death is a constant source of upset for me. On an average day I think of all the ways my life and me myself as a person are different.
“Gagandip and I often fought over the remote control and who would sit in the front seat of the car on a family drive. Now I have the remote to myself and can sit in the front seat as often as I like - both only serve as a reminder of the great hole in my life left my Gagandip. I feel that I have no one left in my life to express my feelings to and tell of my achievements.
“Gagandip was always there to listen and make me feel confident in my own abilities. His loss has made me doubt myself and I no longer have the father figure he was. Since our fathers death “Gagandip helped me to cope with his loss. We planned to always visit his grave together. I have no other siblings and the thought of visiting the grave alone makes me feel very lonely. In a way Gagandip took over our father's role when it came to looking after me and making arrangements for my future. Deciding universities without him has been very difficult.
“His death has meant that I have had to grow up far quicker. Now the dynamics of my family has changed and it’s just mum and I.
“Today I am driving what used to be Gagandip's BMW. When my father was alive, he and Gagandip promised to get me a BMW when I passed my test. In a strange way Gagandip has fulfilled that promise. Though initially I was very uncomfortable driving it as Gagandip hated anyone in his car. I even had a fear of opening the boot but with time I see it as a source of comfort and a positive thing.”