A 34-year-old Punjabi-origin man in the UK, who pleaded guilty to strangling his wife to death, has been sentenced to a hospital restriction with no-time limit order under the country’s Mental Health Act.
Harjinder Pal was arrested following the killing at the couple’s home in Southall, south-west London, in 2009, but was deemed unfit to be tried and was detained under the Act.
A recent assessment of his mental health led to him being considered fit to stand trial at the Old Bailey Court in London this week where he admitted manslaughter on the basis of diminished responsibility.
Kulvir Kaur (21), who worked for a cleaning company in Southall, had an arranged marriage in India in 2008 with Pal, a policeman from Punjab, before the couple moved to England the following year.
The couple lived with a family friend and his nephew and seemed happily married, the local newspaper Ealing Times reported.
On February 28, 2009, Pal strangled Kaur and dialled the emergency number 999 just after midday, confessing to an officer that he had ‘murdered’ his wife.
Police arrived to find Kaur’s fully-clothed body in bed with the covers pulled up to her neck and red marks around her throat.
Pal also told officers he had eaten rat poison he found in the bedroom, the court was told.
Medical experts concluded Pal was suffering from schizoid affective disorder which meant he had delusional jealousy without a basis.
This was agreed on in court by the prosecution and the defence and the judge sentenced him on this basis.
“Only 16 days after moving in together, Kulvir was strangled to death by Pal. He claimed his motivation for the killing was his belief that his wife had affairs with other men,” said Baljit Ubhey, the chief crown prosecutor for the Crown Prosecution Service in London.
“These allegations were completely untrue and unfounded. The allegations caused great distress to Kulvir’s family and have had a significant impact on their lives. I hope Pal’s conviction and sentence provides some comfort to them,” Ubhey added.