Indian cabbie's killer gets lifer
A British man who killed an elderly Indian driver by mowing him down with his own taxi has been sentenced to life imprisonment.
Luke Aujila, 21, who was inebriated, attacked 71-year-old Gian Chand Bajar after an argument over fare in Gravesend, Kent, on May 23 last year.
Bajar, a father of five hailing from Punjab, suffered 39 injuries, including fractures to his pelvis, ribs and a broken leg and hip joint, after he was run over by Aujila.
Judge Andrew Patience told Aujila that he would spend 20 years in prison for his "utterly wicked" act before becoming eligible for parole, adding Bajar's age and vulnerability meant the sentence reflected the gravity of the "terrible case."
The judgement came after a three-week trial during which Aujila pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied murderous intent, claiming he was too drunk to see Bajar lying on road.
The jury at Maidstone Crown Court, however, found him guilty of murder after deliberating for more than 13 hours.
"What you did was cold, callous and cruel. In short it was utterly wicked. When you were both out of that taxi you deliberately punched Mr Bajar. You then decided to steal his taxi and in order to get out of that avenue you deliberately drove over his body as he lay on the road," the judge said.
Bajar was tended to by residents who heard the commotion, but died in hospital from multiple head injuries on the night of the accident.
Bajar was described by his family as a "good Samaritan" who had become the chairman of the local Sikh temple.