'Worst nightmare': Stalker who killed ex jailed for life

Rohit Singh was on trial for the murder of Arishma Chand. Photo: RNZ / Supplied
Rohit Singh was on trial for the murder of Arishma Chand. Photo: RNZ / Supplied
Family members of a young mum brutally murdered by her stalker in a frenzied attack have told the killer they hope he never has a day of peace again.

Rohit Deepak Singh, 42, was found guilty of the murder of Arishma Singh (Chand) by a jury last November in the High Court at Auckland.

Today he was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 19 years by Justice Grant Powell.

The 24-year-old mum was killed during the early hours of November 12, 2017, after her ex-boyfriend lay in wait at her Manurewa house with a large kitchen knife.

It took the jury little more than 40 minutes to reach a unanimous verdict after about a month-long trial.

The anguish Arishma's family suffers constantly was also displayed in court today.

Rakesh and Aradhana Singh, Arishma's parents, discovered their daughter's body when they returned to their home.

"The night I held my lifeless daughter in a pool of blood turned my world upside down - my heart broke into a million pieces," Rakesh wrote in his victim impact statement, which was read to the court by a support person.

Arishma's 3-year-old daughter now "constantly asks where her mummy is", he said.

"Then again my heart shatters."

He turned to the accused, who was sitting in the dock seemingly emotionless, as his statement said: "You destroyed our family, our lives."

A statement from Arishma's mother, who was overcome with tears, was also read.

"I still cannot forget the 12th of November, 2017," the court heard.

"This was our worst nightmare that came true ... When we found our eldest daughter lying in a pool of blood in our home."

Aradhana told her daughter's killer: "I hate you for your cowardly act. You are a despicable person. You shattered Arishma's dreams and hopes."

Police at the scene of the homicide on Maich Rd in Manurewa on November 12, 2017. Photo: NZME
Police at the scene of the homicide on Maich Rd in Manurewa on November 12, 2017. Photo: NZME
Arishma's daughter, Aradhana explained, is constantly looking for her mum.

"What answers can you give to a child so young?"

Aradhana hoped the murderer paid dearly for the suffering he has caused.

"No parent should have to go through what we've gone through," her statement read.

"I hope you truly never have a day of peace ... After today we shall never think of you again."

Rakesh and Aradhana have now also been forced to engage an immigration lawyer in an attempt to gain New Zealand residency after leaving their elderly parents in Fiji to care for their granddaughter.

Arishma's sister, a nurse from Melbourne, was also in court today and had her statement read.

She described her sister as her best friend and "a pillar for our family".

"We miss her, we still love her, and we believe she is still with us."

Arishma's daughter thinks her mum is playing hide and seek, the statement read.

"The very first thing she asks when she wakes up is where her mother is?"

Crown prosecutor Yelena Yelavich sought a minimum of 18 to 19 years in prison for the man who stalked his ex for year and broke into her home wearing gloves and wielding weapons.

The motive for the murder, the Crown prosecutors told the court at trial, was Rohit Singh's obsession and infatuation with Arishma.

He was in a relationship with Arishma - who worked as a child educator - which ended in August 2016, Crown lawyer Claire Robertson explained a trial.

But he was "obsessed and infatuated" with Arishma and "refused to accept she didn't want to be with him", she said.

"It was this obsession which drove him to kill her."

Shortly after her death, the New Zealand Herald revealed that Arishma was at a friend's birthday party and was killed soon after returning to her home with her boyfriend.

It was just moments after her boyfriend left that Rohit Singh's frenzied and brutal attack began. In less than 16 minutes he was gone and Arishma's parents returned home to discover the horrific scene.

Arishma had been stabbed in the back, shoulder and arm, bashed across the back of her head with a weapon, and had her face slashed.

A wound to her groin also cut a vital artery.

A series of messages Rohit Singh sent Arishma, who was born and educated in Fiji, also provided an insight into the killer's obsessive behaviour.

They included threatening Facebook messages, an inundation of daily calls and text messages and a tattoo of Arishma's her face on his chest.

"I want to tell you something, every day I think about you, every day I talk to your photo...," one text read.

"Today I really miss you, all alone ... One day you will realise when you get to my age. What goes around comes around," another said.

Arishma was also followed by her would-be-killer and photographed.

Rohit Singh told a friend of his sinister plans to kill and sought "a large kitchen knife" and on the night of the murder he was watching Arishma's home from a car.

Cellphone polling data placed him near the house at the time of the murder.

After the bloody assault he fled and drove to the North Shore - later creating a bogus alibi.

Just hours after the murder, at 10.18am, Rohit Singh called police and said he had been the victim of a robbery where three girls had stolen his car, taken his belongings and scratched his face.

He told police the robbery occurred at 1.30am.

But his lies were exposed.

Instead Rohit Singh was dumping his clothes, the blooded knife and weapon he used to kill Arishma.

The murder weapon was never found.

Scratch marks on his face, which he attributed to his fake mugging, were also later linked to his DNA under Arishma's fingernails.

The murder, Justice Powell said, involved calculated, lengthy planning and a high degree of cruelty and depravity.

"It was both brutal and callous.

"An evil act the consequences of which can never be undone."

Where to get help

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours of friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay

Where to go for help or more information:

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633 www.2shine.org.nz
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843 www.womensrefuge.org.nz
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584

Comments

To what extent was Singh monitored by Police during his year of stalking?

 

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