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Thursday, Nov 14, 2019

Life term to Indian for killing wife in UK

The case is known as "Google murder", as the killer picked from the Net tips to kill without leaving any clues.

india Updated: Sep 16, 2006 12:33 IST
Indo-Asian News Service
Indo-Asian News Service

Anurag Johri, a Lucknow-born Indian PhD student at a British university who battered his wife to death because she had become financially independent and had left him, has been sentenced to life imprisonment by the Birmingham Crown Court.

The sensational murder of Deepti Anurag, 29, which has come to be dubbed a "Google murder" - because Johri, 34, did an internet search on how to kill with a baseball bat without being detected - occurred in November 2005 in Birmingham.

The jury convicted Johri for murdering his wife during the "prolonged and ferocious attack" and told him that he would serve a minimum of 13 years in jail before being considered for deportation to India.

A London-based friend of Johri said that the convicted student hailed from Lucknow and had the best of education at Sherwood College, Nainital, and Kirorimal College, Delhi University.

He also did an MBA from an institute in Ghaziabad and worked for a multinational company before registering for a PhD in business process outsourcing at the University of Central England, Birmingham.

According to the friend, who preferred anonymity, Johri and Deepti had an arranged marriage in 2001. Both hailed from respected families from Lucknow. In the crown court, Deepti was described as "a young woman with her life to look forward to".

Justice Gray told Johri: "Your attack on her using a baseball bat as a weapon was prolonged and ferocious. You struck her on at least four occasions, fracturing her skull in three different places."

Johri was sentenced on Friday afternoon after a jury took just over two hours to find Johri guilty of murdering Deepti, whose body was discovered at the university in November 2005. Their relationship deteriorated to the point where they separated in August 2005.

A CCTV tape was played to the jury, which, the judge said, "demonstrated vividly how terrifying an ordeal it was for her".

He added: "I have no doubt that the attack was carefully planned and premeditated."

The judge said that people who knew Deepti - she had a full-time job as an information assistant at the Learning Resource Centre at the University's Business School - had described her as having a bubbly personality and a sunny disposition.

Gareth Walters, prosecuting solicitor, said that Johri had planned the attack because he could not accept his wife had left him and wanted to become independent of him. He said as well as accessing the Internet Johri had also deliberately disguised the bat, which he bought at a sports shop, before going to the university on November 17, where he waited until his wife was alone.

He said two CCTV cameras in the building had captured some of Johri's movements leading up to the killing while a recording device had recorded sounds, including the victim's screams as she was being battered.

After the attack, Johri dragged her body behind a desk before making a suicide attempt later. Johri had admitted killing his wife but denied murdering her, claiming he had never intended to kill her.

James Burbidge, lawyer for Johri, said: "This is a tragedy for all concerned. A young woman with her life to look forward to was battered to death by the accused who belatedly realised the true depth of his love for her."

He added Johri had been suffering from depression at the time and that he was not an evil man.

Giving evidence, Johri told the court that after their separation he felt he was "living in uncertainty". He said he was not sleeping or eating properly, was unable to concentrate on his studies, and that "nothing seemed to matter".