Birmingham & Black Country

Murder accused husband 'tried to have first wife killed'

Gurpreet Singh Image copyright Helen Tipper
Image caption Gurpreet Singh, right, is on trial at Birmingham Crown Court over the death of his two wives

A businessman strangled his wife at their family home five years after offering to pay a man £20,000 to kill his previous spouse, a jury has heard.

Gurpreet Singh, 43, is accused of killing his second wife Sarbjit Kaur with an "unknown accomplice" in Wolverhampton, in February last year.

He also offered to pay a hitman to kill Amandeep Kaur in 2013, Birmingham Crown Court heard.

Mr Singh denies murder and soliciting to murder.

Sarbjit Kaur, 38, was found covered with chilli powder, possibly used to "incapacitate" her or give the impression there had been a botched robbery, at the couple's home in Rookery Lane, Wolverhampton, prosecutors said.

Mr Singh is also accused of soliciting the murder of his now dead previous wife, Amandeep Kaur, by offering to pay Heera Singh Uppal, between July and December 2013.

Opening the Crown's case, David Mason QC said the prosecution was "not in a position to say" if Amandeep Kaur was murdered.

Her death certificate concluded she died of a brain haemorrhage in Punjab, India, in 2014, he told jurors.

Image copyright West Midlands Police
Image caption Sarbjit Kaur died of asphyxiation

The jury was told they would hear from Mr Uppal "that he [Singh] wanted his wife Amandeep Kaur murdered. And that he was prepared to pay Mr Uppal £20,000 to carry out this killing".

Mr Mason said the defendant told Mr Uppal to make it look "like a burglary gone wrong", adding that the circumstances were "startlingly familiar" to the death of Singh's second wife.

Of the death in England, Mr Singh told police he had been alone in the house with his wife on the morning of 16 February.

There was no sign of forced entry at the home and CCTV from a neighbouring property captured "an unknown character" in a hooded parka jacket going into the couple's home at 08:13 GMT, the jury heard.

Image copyright Google
Image caption Mrs Kaur was found dead at the family home in Wolverhampton in February last year

The Crown's QC said: "After Mr Singh has got back from the school run we say he had already clearly planned to kill Sarbjit.

"He had obviously recruited someone else to help him.

"Whether it was a colleague, hired help, mistress, perhaps we will never know. But that person knew when to go to the house, knew that he or she would be let in by the defendant and, when in the premises, helped to murder Sarbjit and make it all look like a burglary that had gone dreadfully wrong."

The case - expected to last six weeks - continues.

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