Sydney stabbing: Nothing to suggest racial motives, say police

  • Agencies, New Delhi
  • Updated: Mar 09, 2015 19:04 IST

Australian police on Monday said there was nothing to suggest that the brutal murder of an Indian woman IT professional in a Sydney suburb was racially motivated.

"Could this be a random attack? Well, yes it could. It could be a whole range of scenarios... and we are considering all of them," New South Wales (NSW) homicide squad commander detective superintendent Michael Willing said.

"We are hoping this will jog the memory of anyone who was in the vicinity of Argyle Street, Park Parade or Amos Street that evening, and encourage them to come forward and speak with police," Willing said.

The NSW police has launched a probe following the stabbing of 41-year-old Prabha Arun Kumar, who was on the phone with her husband in India, when the attack occurred on Saturday in Westmead.

Consul general of India in Sydney Sanjay Sudhir said, "I have spoken to a lot of people, a lot of agencies and there is no evidence which I have seen which indicates any racial undertone to this attack. Prabha's husband happened to be the last person she spoke to because at that time she was talking to him on mobile."

A special detective squad -- Strike Force Marcoala -- which comprises of police from Parramatta Local Area Command and State Crime Command's Homicide Squad has been formed to investigate the death.

NSW Premier Mike Baird during a telephonic conversation with Sudhir assured India that the perpetrators of the fatal knife attack on Prabha will be brought to justice.

Baird condemned the assault and said, "I was shocked and horrified to hear about the attack on Prabha Arun Kumar and my thoughts and prayers are with her family and friends at this devastating time."

"This was a brutal and cowardly attack on a member of the public that is now being investigated by a dedicated team of police officers and detectives. I have every confidence that Strike Force Marcoala will use every resource available to help bring the perpetrators of this horrific crime to justice," he said.

Prabha's distraught husband Arun Kumar and their 9-year-old daughter had reached Australia from Bangalore to formally identify her body.

External affairs minister Sushma Swaraj said she was personally monitoring the situation.

"I am pained to know abt murder of Prabha Arun Kumar in Sydney. Our Consulate is in touch with her Company there and we promise all help," she posted on Twitter.

CCTV footage

NSW police released the CCTV footage of the IT consultant walking from a train station just before she was fatally stabbed and appealed to people for information to crack the case.

"We are releasing (the CCTV tapes) in an effort to jog people's memories - someone who may have seen Prabha, somebody who may know Prahba - coming forward and providing us with the information that we need to work out why this has happened to her and who is responsible for it," homicide squad commander Michael Willing was quoted as saying by The Daily Telegraph.

Detective superintendent Willing said the footage did not appear to show anyone following the victim as she made her way home.

He said her husband talked with detectives about the conversation before she was killed.

"We have some detail in terms of their conversation," he said.

Police said the emergency services responded to reports of a seriously injured woman on a public walkway between Argyle Street, Parramatta, and Amos Street, Westmead, at around 9:30pm (local time) on Saturday.

Ambulance Paramedics treated the woman at the scene before transporting her to Westmead Hospital, where she died at about 12:45am on Sunday.

Confirming her identity, the police statement said, it was believed that Kumar got off a train at Parramatta Railway Station about 9pm, before walking along Argyle Street and turning left onto the walkway. Police believe she was attacked while on the walkway.

She sustained a number of injuries, which it is believed were inflicted by a sharp-edged weapon.

Strike Force Marcoala has been formed to investigate the death. It comprises police from Parramatta Local Area Command and State Crime Command's Homicide Squad.

Kumar, a mother of a 9-year-old daughter, was attacked just 300 metres from her home and was talking to her husband when the attack took place as she took a shortcut through Westmead's Parramatta Park, Sydney's western suburb, around 9.30pm on Saturday night. She had finished working a double shift.

"He stabbed me, darling," she told husband, Sydney's The Daily Telegraph reported.

Kumar's relative, Thrijesh Jayachandra, told The Hindu that she had told her husband that a man was following her.

"She was walking while talking to Arun on the phone when she said that a suspicious-looking man was following her," Jayachandra was quoted as saying by The Hindu.

"The next moment, he heard her scream for help and then plead with the man not to harm [her] and take all her belongings if he wanted. Seconds later, he heard her scream and say she was stabbed," he said.

Kumar, was set to return home next month after her working visa expired, after being sent to Sydney in 2012 to work for IT and outsourcing company Mindtree.

The company is based at The Rocks but Kumar had been working with a client at Rhodes when she caught the train home on Saturday, getting off at Parramatta Station.

(With PTI and AFP inputs)

Watch: CCTV footage shows victim Prabha Kumar

also read

41-year-old Indian IT consultant stabbed to death in Australia
Show comments