Two convicted of murdering NRI TV executive in Britain

A British court convicts two men of killing a 21-year-old NRI TV executive in south-east London.

india Updated: Feb 25, 2012 11:04 IST

A British court has convicted two men of killing a 21-year-old NRI TV executive in south-east London last year.

Prosecutors said Gagandip Singh was beaten and left to die in a burning car in Blackheath.

Gagandip's killers had decided to "play God" after the victim allegedly tried to rape medical student Mundill Mahil 20 six months before he died, they said.

Mahil lured Gagandip down to her university house in Brighton in February last year where he was set upon by Harvinder Shoker and Darren Peters who viciously beat him before bundling him into the boot of a car and driving it to Blackheath where they set it alight.

Shoker was found guilty of murder by a majority verdict of 10-2 by a jury at the Old Bailey while Peters was found guilty of manslaughter and Mahil of causing grievous bodily harm. The trio had denied murder.

Mahil (20) from Chatham Kent, Shoker (20) of Greenwich and Peters (20) from Blackheath will be sentenced on Wednesday.

Mahil had confided in Shoker about the attempted sex attack and he recruited Peters to help him in the plot against Gagandip. Mahil insisted that she had no idea that Gagandip would be hurt, instead believing that the two men were going to take him to see an older man called Sonny to be lectured about religion and how to treat women.

In his closing speech, prosecutor Aftab Jafferjee told jurors, "Gagandip had his share of faults. There is no doubt about it. He may have deserved some punishment. But for a group of youngsters to decide that they are the custodians of Sikh virtue and play God on the subject of religious duty and moral obligation is a grotesque turn of events."

"The reality is this was vengeance for a sexual predator which was the way they liked to portray the man who died. Everybody gets into this way of believing that this is an evil man who got his just desserts."

Gagandip was the owner of a new broadcasting service called Sikh TV and also helped in his family's successful packing business.
Judge Paul Worsley said all the defendants would be given long sentences. But he allowed Mahil to remain on conditional bail until Wednesday's sentencing.

He told her, "I regard a long custodial sentence as virtually inevitable." Mahil had shaken her head and swayed when she was found guilty.

Judge Worsley thanked jurors and excused them from further jury service for 10 years because the trial had been "unusual and anxious".

First Published: Feb 25, 2012 10:58 IST