England

Surjit Athwal murder: Brother wants 'justice for honour killing'

  • 16 July 2013
  • From the section England
Surjit Athwal
Image caption Surjit Athwal's body has never been found

The brother of a British woman murdered in a so-called "honour killing" has written to the Prime Minister to try and get the case reopened.

Surjit Athwal, 27, originally from Coventry, was killed in India in 1998.

Her mother-in-law Bachan Athwal and husband Sukhdave Athwal, of Hayes, west London, were jailed at the Old Bailey in 2007 for arranging her murder.

Jagdeesh Singh said those paid to murder his sister remain free in India and called for a new investigation.

Surjit Athwal was killed during a trip to the northern Indian state of Punjab in 1998. Her body was never found.

Mr Singh has written a letter to David Cameron to mark what would have been her 42nd birthday.

"He can press the Indian Prime Minister for a full scale investigation into this case," he said.

"Although, there was an investigation conducted by the Punjab police in 2000, there were no convictions for men who killed my sister."

'Cannot interfere'

Mr Singh has called for any new investigation to be carried out by India's Central Bureau of Investigation.

Image caption Jagdeesh Singh wants a new full scale investigation into his sister's murder

"They have the capacity, the expertise, the personnel to act independently and equally to liaise with the British police directly and invite the input of officers who investigated the case in the UK," he said.

The British investigation was carried out by the Metropolitan Police.

Det Ch Insp Clive Driscoll, who led the inquiry into Surjit's death, said he was prepared to share information he had gathered with the Indian authorities.

He said: "I have absolutely no doubt that I have evidence and information contained within my investigation which would be of assistance to the Indian authorities."

In a statement, the Foreign and Commonwealth Office said it remained engaged in the case.

It said: "We continue to raise the case with the Indian authorities at appropriate opportunities.

"It was raised by Minister Hugo Swire on 19 February 2013 when he met with the MEA's [Ministry of External Affairs] Foreign Secretary, Ranjan Mathai."

The government insists it is for the Indian authorities to investigate the death.

"We cannot interfere in another country's legal procedures, just as they cannot interfere in ours," the statement said.

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