London: A British court has convicted two
men for killing a 21-year-old NRI TV executive in south-east
London last year.
Prosecutors said Gagandip Singh was beaten and left
to die in a burning car in Blackheath.
Gagandip`s killers had decided to "play God" after the
victim allegedly tried to rape medical student Mundill Mahil,
20, six months before he died, they said.
Mahil lured Gagandip down to her university house in
Brighton in February last year, where he was set upon by
Harvinder Shoker and Darren Peters who viciously beat him
before bundling him into the boot of a car and driving it to
Blackheath, where they set it alight.
Shoker was found guilty of murder by a majority verdict
of 10-2 by a jury at the Old Bailey while Peters was found
guilty of manslaughter, and Mahil of causing grievous bodily
harm. The trio had denied murder.
Mahil, 20, from Chatham, Kent, Shoker, 20, of Greenwich
and Peters, 20, from Blackheath will be sentenced on
Mahil had confided in Shoker about the attempted sex
attack, and he recruited Peters to help him in the plot
against Gagandip. Mahil insisted that she had no idea that
Gagandip would be hurt, instead believing the two men were
going to take him to see an older man called Sonny to be
lectured about religion and how to treat women.
In his closing speech, prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told
jurors: "Gagandip had his share of faults. There is no doubt
about it. He may have deserved some punishment. But for a
group of youngsters to decide that they are the custodians of
Sikh virtue and play God on the subject of religious duty and
moral obligation is a grotesque turn of events."
"The reality is this was vengeance for a sexual predator,
which was the way they liked to portray the man who died.
Everybody gets into this way of believing that this is an evil
man who got his just desserts."
Gagandip was the owner of a new broadcasting service
called Sikh TV, and also helped in his family`s successful
Judge Paul Worsley said all the defendants would be given
long sentences. But he allowed Mahil to remain on conditional
bail until Wednesday`s sentencing.
He told her: "I regard a long custodial sentence as
virtually inevitable." Mahil had shaken her head and swayed
when she was found guilty.
Judge Worsley thanked jurors and excused them from
further jury service for 10 years because the trial had been
"unusual and anxious".