Guilt ridden Asian mother commits suicide

Blaming herself for the deaths of her daughter and grandchildren Satwant Kaur Sodhi jumped to her death at Southall station.

india Updated: Feb 23, 2006 19:33 IST

In a tragic trail of events, an Indian mother who blamed herself for the deaths of her daughter and grandchildren has committed a copycat suicide.

Now, six months later after her daughter's death, Satwant Kaur Sodhi, killed herself under the wheels of another high-speed locomotive at the same station.

Last summer her daughter Navjeet Sidhu threw herself and her two small children into the path of a 100 mph train at Southall railway station. The driver of the train spotted her jumping on the rails as the train started passing through the platform but could not stop.

Struggling to cope with the triple tragedy, the 56-year-old led a lonely existence since her daughter's death. She held herself responsible for the suicide of her only child, 27-year-old Navjeet, who died with 23-month-old son Aman Raj and five-year-old daughter Simran.

On Monday, she made a final visit to Southall station where they died - and stood in front of a Bristol to London Intercity service which hit her at 95mph. Police discovered a suicide note - written in Punjabi - which is said to confirm her sense of guilt and loss.

Navjeet and her young children died under a Heathrow Express service at the West London station last August.

A police investigation found that Navjeet was suffering from depression and was unhappy in her arranged marriage to her Indian-born husband, Manjit, a 32-year-old postal worker.

Her mother, who arranged the marriage, blamed herself for the deaths and regularly visited the spot where the three died.

Last night Mrs Sodhi's family spoke of their devastation at an "incomprehensible chain of events. The tragic and shocking death of Satwant's only daughter and grandchildren six months ago left her completely inconsolable. No matter how, as a family, we tried to help, she could not find comfort in anything or anyone. She will be missed dearly and we can only seek solace in knowing that she is now at peace with her family. We must now try to come to terms with loss and this incomprehensible chain of events."

Neighbours said that Mrs Sodhi, a divorcee, often spoke of how depressed she had become and said she wanted to end her life. Another woman who did not want to named said Mrs Sodhi also confessed she felt guilty about arranging her daughter's marriage.

The woman said, "She was living alone. She was depressed and worried about what had happened to her daughter. She also said she had made a mistake in making an arranged marriage for her daughter. She would often say she did not want to live anymore now that her daughter was no longer there."

Another friend said Mrs Sodhi was very strict about British-born Navjeet's upbringing because of her shame about being divorced. This led to Navjeet being teased and bullied at school, she said.

Mrs Sodhi was one of the first at the scene last August after her daughter took her children to their deaths. Navjeet had called her husband several times on the day of her death and he frantically drove around Southall looking for her, arriving at the station six minutes after his wife and children were hit by the train.

Police investigating the original suicide have been told that Navjeet had suffered in a male-dominated household and was often blamed by her husband if things went wrong.

In addition, there have been suggestions that she was made to feel inferior by her husband's relatives because she was the daughter of a divorced woman. Navjeet, who worked as a receptionist for Sunrise Radio, left her job months before her death amid claims that her husband was not happy with her working there.

Since the death of his wife and two children, Mr Sidhu has rented out his £250,000 home and moved back to India. A spokesman for the letting agency said, "Mr Sidhu is still not in a fit state to talk to anybody. He has still not got over the suicide of his wife, and has returned home to India."

First Published: Feb 23, 2006 19:33 IST