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5 NRIs killed in cold blood

London-based businessman Amarjit Chohan, his mother-in-law, wife and two children, were victims of a plot to hijack a firm and turn it into a front for drug smuggling.
PTI | By Nabanita Sircar, London
UPDATED ON NOV 11, 2004 03:20 AM IST

As the trial into the murders of Asian businessman Amarjit Chohan and his family began on Monday, the Old Bailey jury heard that the murderer was a convicted drug addict.

Kenneth Regan and his two henchmen, William Horncy and Peter Rees, wanted to take over Amarjit Chohan's successful £5 million freight business and make it a front for drug smuggling, the court heard.

Describing the deaths of Amarjit Chohan, 45, Nancy Chohan, 24, Devinder, 18 months, Ravinder, eight weeks old and Charanjit Kaur, 51, Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said: "Some crimes are beyond belief and on any view these horrific murders fall into that category."

He said: "Three generations of a family were executed, deliberately killed, because of the greed of these three defendants.'' He told the court that Regan lured Chohan to a meeting in Stonehenge on February 13, 2003, ostensibly to meet a potential buyer for his fruit freight business, CIBA Freight.

"Mr Chohan walked into a trap. Thereafter he was used and controlled by the defendants and held against his will for several days before being murdered. To make his disappearance appear genuine it was, or became, necessary for his family also to be murdered.

"As a result Nancy Chohan, her two sons and her mother were sucked into his wickedness. That they were murdered is beyond doubt, how when and where is less clear," said Horwell.

The bodies were initially buried on farmland near Tiverton, Devon, owned by one Belinda Brewin, whom Regan at met before he was jailed for eight years in 1998 at the bar at Harvey Nichols in

Knightsbridge. Regan had taken Brewin to Chohan's CIBA Freight, in Southall, claiming to be owning the business.  

Horwell said Regan was the mastermind of the "audacious and outrageous" plan to "steal" the business. The court heard that Regan made arrangements to hire a digger to bury the bodies on Brewin's land. When he realised police were closing in to exhume them he and Horncy bought a boat which was used to dump the family in the sea on Easter Sunday last year.

Two days later, Chohan's body was found near Bournemouth pier. In July, Mrs Chohan was found in a fisherman's net between Dorset and the Isle of Wight. In November, Mrs Kaur's remains were washed up on the Isle of Wight. The boys have never been found.

The jury was told that Chohan was "something of a chancer" in business and had been to prison for tax evasion. So Regan decided to make it look as if his victim had fallen out with business associates and had gone abroad to avoid them and the taxman. Days after the murders Regan turned up at CIBA "brandishing a power of attorney" purportedly giving him control of the company's affairs.

Horwell said it was only the persistence of Mrs Chohan's brother, Onkar Verma, who lived in New Zealand, and refused to believe his family had simply vanished, that led to the uncovering of the plot.

Regan, 55, of South Newton, near Salisbury, Wilts, Horncy, 52, of Boscombe, Dorset, and Rees, 39, of Rowlands Castle near Portsmouth, deny five charges of murder and one of false imprisonment.

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