NEWS

Ronnie Coulter Guilty Of Murdering Surjit Singh Chhokar After Double Jeopardy Retrial

Ronnie Coulter thought he had got away with the perfect murder.

05/10/2016 13:22

A man who bragged about committing the “perfect murder” has been found guilty more than 17 years after committing the crime. 

Ronnie Coulter, 48, has been convicted of stabbing waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar nearly two decades ago in a retrial under double jeopardy laws.

Chhokar, 32, was attacked as he returned from work in Wishaw, North Lanarkshire, on 4 November 1998.

PA/PA Wire
Surjit Singh Chhokar (pictured) was killed 17 years ago by Ronnie Coulter who has just been convicted of the waiter's murder under double jeopardy laws

The jury found Coulter, of Overtown, Wishaw, guilty following a four-week trial at the High Court in Glasgow, the Press Association reports.

A string of further charges, including an accusation that Coulter forged Chhokar’s signature on a £100 giro cheque on the day of his death, were dropped during the trial.

Coulter denied the charges and blamed his nephew Andrew Coulter and David Montgomery for the murder.

Giving evidence the pair admitted being present at the scene but denied murder.

Ronnie Coulter’s sister Margaret Chisholm told the court that her brother told her that he had got away with the perfect murder.

The case is the second to be retried after Scotland’s centuries-old double jeopardy law was reformed in 2011, enabling the conviction of World’s End killer Angus Sinclair in 2014.

David Cheskin/PA Archive
Darshan Chhokar father of murdered Indian waiter Surjit Singh Chhokar died last year, before he could see 'justice' for his son

Coulter was previously acquitted when he stood trial in 1999 and Andrew Coulter and Montgomery were also acquitted following a subsequent trial.

Two official inquiries were ordered after the original trials over Chhokar’s death.

One made allegations of “institutional racism’’.

Following the publication of the official reports in 2001, the then Lord Advocate, Colin Boyd QC, said the Chhokar family had been failed by the police and prosecution services.

In his last interview before his death in November 2015, Chhokar’s father said that his only wish was that those responsible for his son’s death “face justice”.

Campaigners celebrated the verdict outside court, holding a banner that read “justice”.

Suggest a correction