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Indian sentenced to life in Australia for murder of compatriots

world Updated: Oct 01, 2010 20:28 IST

PTI
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An Australian court on Friday sentenced a 22-year-old student from Punjab to life imprisonment for stabbing two of his Indian flatmates to death over a dispute.

In the Supreme Court in Perth, Jagdeep Singh pleaded guilty to murdering Navdeep Singh, 20, and Kawaldeep Singh, 19, on February 11 this year, the AAP reported.

In sentencing, Justice John McKechnie noted the high level of stabbings being carried out by young men in Perth.

With a 20-year minimum term, Jagdeep, from Punjab, will not be eligible for release until 2030.

Jagdeep had shared a two-bedroom flat in Morley in Perth's north with the brothers and three others but had been told he had to move out because the landlady considered it too crowded.

Prosecution lawyer Justin Whalley told the court that Jagdeep, a hospitality course student, wanted 310 dollars in bond money from Navdeep Singh so he could arrange another flat.

After failing to to get money from Navdeep, he went to the flat with a knife early morning and stabbed both brothers, inflicting deep abdominal wounds that led to their deaths.

Navdeep Singh made it to a nearby St John Ambulance depot and was taken to Royal Perth Hospital for emergency surgery but later died.

Jagdeep was eventually arrested and he admitted to police he had stabbed the brothers.

The flatmates who were on student visa were from the Punjab.

Singh's defence lawyer Curt Hofman said before his client went to the flat with the knife he had consumed half a bottle of Canadian Club whisky and that had impaired his judgement.

"It's probably a key factor, he's not used to consuming this substance," he said, adding Singh thought he was being bullied by Navdeep Singh and needed to regain his respect after being told it would take at least a week to get the bond money to him.

"It's fair to say he stewed over this as being an unjust arrangement."

Jagdeep was known as a very mild-mannered young man. Hofman said, adding a psychological report indicated alcohol had helped trigger Singh to take violent action over his grievance.

Hofman said Jagdeep was from a good middle-class family in the Punjab and had been financed out to Australia by his family to study.

Prosecution lawyer Justin Whalley said the parents of the deceased brothers had sold a house and land to pay for their study in Australia in the hope they would return to support the family.

What they got was a violent death far from home, he said, adding life imprisonment with a substantial minimum term was required to reflect the seriousness of a double murder.