Gurpreet Singh guilty of wife's murder in Wolverhampton

image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionGurpreet Singh was told he would serve at least 19 years in prison for the murder

A "callous" husband who pretended his wife had been killed in a burglary has been found guilty of her murder.

Sarbjit Kaur, 38, was found at her house in Rookery Lane, Wolverhampton, on 16 February 2018. She had been assaulted and "dead for some time," West Midlands Police said.

Gurpreet Singh, 45, was convicted of murder following a retrial at Birmingham Crown Court.

He has been sentenced to life in prison and will serve a minimum of 19 years.

Supt Chris Mallett, of West Midlands Police, said: "While the motivation of Sarbjit's murder is unclear, Singh is clearly a callous and calculating man with complete disregard for human life.

"He's shown no remorse for his actions and continued to deny his involvement, despite the weight of evidence against him."

Officers were called to the address by Singh who told officers he had found his 38-year-old wife unconscious in their home.

A post-mortem examination revealed she had died of asphyxiation.

image copyrightWest Midlands Police
image captionSarbjit Kaur's death has left her family "dumbfounded", they said

The house initially looked as if it had been burgled. The jury was told Singh was showing signs of shock and horror at what had taken place.

His wife's face and body were sprinkled with a form of chilli powder, which was used to incapacitate her or give the impression she had been attacked.

The West Midlands force said Singh allowed his children to enter their house and find Sarbjit, their stepmother, who worked from home as a seamstress, dead on the floor.

"They'd lost their first mother previously through illness, when she was out in India, and clearly they would have been traumatised by losing their biological mum," Supt Mallett said.

"The distress this caused those poor children is sickening."

Singh's first wife, Amandeep Kaur, died in India four years before the murder, with authorities concluding she suffered a brain haemorrhage.

He had faced charges of attempting to arrange her death, but was later acquitted.

Sarbjit's niece Jasmeen, on behalf of her family, said: "The grief leaves us dumbfounded.

"Sarbjit's death was so sudden, unanticipated and violent, it has shaken the whole family's sense of safety, control and trust in the world around them."

Supt Mallett told BBC News that Singh "on the face of it" appeared to be a successful local businessman, owning a construction company and living in a "fairly affluent area".

image captionSupt Chris Mallett said Singh "went out of his way to premeditate a fairly callous and brutal murder"

"They were a normal, ordinary, happy family," he said.

There was no previous history of domestic abuse between the couple and "for all intents and purposes, things were fine".

"He [Singh] went to great lengths to arrange the murder of Sarbjit, to carry it out on the day and cover his tracks."

Singh "had taken the time" to remove the CCTV from the property, the officer said.

"He has always maintained that the CCTV was removed because it wasn't working properly and he'd thrown away the DVR box that recorded the footage, but we will say that that was done probably not long prior to the murder being committed and to prevent their extensive camera set-up around the property recording what was going to take place that day.

"It wasn't just the CCTV it was the fact that he had arranged for an unknown, still unknown, female third party to attend the address that day and assist him in committing the murder of Sarbjit."

Jurors were told the unidentified woman went into the home of Singh just minutes after he entered the Wolverhampton property.

Supt Mallett said: "We're still keen to hear who his accomplice is and I'd ask anyone with any information to do the right thing and tell us what they know."

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