Guilty Verdicts For Trio Who Left TV Executive To Die In Burning Car
Two men have been found guilty of beating a TV executive unconscious and leaving him to die in a burning car.
Prosecutors said Gagandip Singh's killers had decided to "play God" after he tried to rape medical student Mundill Mahil six months before he died.
Mahil lured Mr Singh 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, south east London, where they set it alight.
Today 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.
Screaming and crying could be heard coming from the public gallery as Shoker was found guilty.
Mahil, 20, from Chatham, Kent, Shoker, 20, of Greenwich and Peters, 20, from Blackheath, south east London 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 21-year-old Singh.
Mahil insisted that she had no idea that Mr Singh would be hurt, instead believing 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 QC 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."
Mr Singh 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".
Outside court, a statement was read on behalf of Mr Singh's family, including his mother Tajinder and sister Amandip Singh.
It read: "Words are not enough to express the great loss of our son and brother. On a day to day basis there is a gap in our lives and a sense of loneliness.
"Gagandip was always a happy person trying to make us laugh."
They said that this week has been particularly hard because this weekend is the first anniversary of Mr Singh's death.
The statement went on: "For Gagandip's mother life has ground to a halt and will never be the same again."
Detective Superintendent Damian Allain said: "Throughout this investigation and trial Mundill Mahil portrayed herself as a victim, denying in any way that she had lured Gagandip to Brighton knowing that Shoker and Peters were going to attack him."
She later said that she thought he would only receive "a few slaps or a lecture", Mr Allain said.
He went on: "She was at the heart of a criminal conspiracy with Shoker and Peters to draw Gagandip to Brighton to seriously assault him, which resulted in his death.
"All this from a medical student embarking on a career in the caring profession. I have no doubt had it not been for the actions of her deceit and trickery that night Gagandip would not have been murdered."