LONDON: A 38-year-old Indian-origin woman was killed with multiple blows from an axe allegedly by her ex-banker husband who was suffering from stress, a UK court has been told during an ongoing trial.
Ms Sonita Nijhawan was discovered in a pool of blood in her family estate in Surrey, south England, in May this year. Her husband Sanjay Nijhawan is accused of killing her with as many as 124 blows from an axe.
Prosecutor Sally O’Neill told the jury at Guildford Crown Court in Surrey this week that the 46-year-old former banker with Barclays hit his wife on the head and neck before slitting her throat, ‘The Times’ said in a court report.
O’Neill told the jury: “The number and nature of her cuts make it clear that she was the victim of a fatal and sustained attack. She had a very large number of cut and stab injuries to her neck and head. Underneath her body was an axe.”
“He (Sanjay Nijhawan) was sitting on the kitchen floor next to her body repeatedly stabbing himself to the legs with a small knife.
“Ms Sonita had 124 significant injuries to her body including 40 cut and blunt force injuries to her head, of which 18 were to the back of the head, 11 to the side and 10 to the left-hand side of her skull. These were all likely to be caused by an axe.”
A post-mortem examination revealed that the blows from the axe were carried out with a severe degree of force. The stab wounds cut her carotid and jugular blood vessels and the cuts on her thighs were up to 9 cm deep.
The court was told that after he was arrested, Sanjay Nijhawan told officers that he had become “deranged” and had suffered a nervous breakdown.
He had reportedly quit his job with Barclays Capital Wealth after suffering from depression and anxiety and got further upset when his wife sought a divorce.
Sanjay Nijhawan had also grown increasingly anxious about his 670,000 pound mortgage on the couple’s 2.6-million pound home in Surrey.
He denies murdering his wife and O’Neill said the defence case was expected to be that he had an abnormality of mental function.
The victim’s younger brother, Mr Amit Parkesh, said: “They appeared very happy and I’m sure they were both very much in love. I had never seen them argue or be in anyway violent towards each other. Prior to this, I would have said Sanjay would not hurt a fly. He is a lovely guy.”
The couple’s four-year-old son was reportedly in the home during the murder and alarmed family members rushed to the home after receiving some bizarre phone calls and text messages from the accused.
The trial is ongoing and is expected to last another few weeks.