Indian man 'strangled wife with cord'

An Indian policeman gripped by jealousy strangled his young wife just two weeks after he arrived in Britain to live with her, a court heard today.

Harjinder Pal, 34, throttled 21-year-old Kulvir Kaur from behind in their bedroom with a black cord until it snapped.

Ms Kaur had been planning a party to celebrate her husband's arrival in the country, but he had become convinced she was cheating on him.

After killing her he calmly walked to a newsagents' to buy a bottle of Lucozade and asked the shopkeeper: "What is the number for the police?"

Pal called 999 to say he had murdered his wife and officers arrived to find her lifeless body tucked up neatly in bed at the address in Southall, west London.

He said he had eaten from a jar of rat poison found in the bedroom.

The Old Bailey heard Pal suffered from "delusional beliefs" about his wife's fidelity - described by a psychiatrist as "morbid jealousy".

But Ms Kaur, who worked long hours for a linen cleaning company, had told friends how happy she was that she and her husband had been reunited.

She had arranged a romantic night in an hotel on Valentines' Day and was planning a party to celebrate his arrival - but he killed her two days before it was due to have taken place.

The couple had entered into an arranged marriage in India, where Pal was then living, in October 2008.

She returned to Britain while he arranged for a visa and long-term leave from the police force.

Peter Clement, prosecuting, said: "The defendant arrived in this country on February 13. Just 15 days later he strangled his wife to death in their bedroom.

"Tragically, Kaur, who colleagues described as being very happy at her husband's arrival, had planned to host a party for her workmates in celebration just two days later."

The court heard Pal dialled 999 just after midday and emergency arrived to find his wife's fully-clothed body in bed, with the covers pulled up to her neck, and red marks around her throat. Two pieces of cord were found on the floor.

"There were no signs of struggle and it looked as if the covers had been neatly pulled over Kulvir Kaur," said Mr Clement.

Pal was charged with murder but today Judge Peter Thornton ruled that he was not fit to stand trial for the crime, as he was suffering from a "depressive disorder with psychotic symptoms".

After a short hearing, a jury found that it was Pal who carried out the act of killing his wife, and he was sent to a mental hospital indefinitely.

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