Man convicted of cleaver killing

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The Independent Online

A "vicious and cold-blooded" killer who strangled a young mother then chopped up her body with a meat cleaver was jailed today for at least 24 years.

Student Roshan Dantis, 30, was given a life sentence after being convicted of killing his friend's wife in an extortion plot.

At the High Court in Glasgow today, judge Lord Pentland sentenced Dantis to life with a minimum of 24 years for the murder of Khusbu Shah in the city.

He described Dantis as a "vicious and cold-blooded murderer" who carried out the crime with "chilling composure".

Mrs Shah's husband Nagendra branded Dantis as "ruthless and evil".

He described his wife, who was from Nepal, as a "perfect mum" to their four-year-old son Nikhil.

Mrs Shah's body was found on June 1 last year dumped near her home in the city.

Dantis, who studied business and technology at Strathclyde University with Mrs Shah's husband, was also found guilty of attempting to defeat the ends of justice for trying to cover up the crime.

And he was convicted of attempting to extort £120,000 and a television set from Mr Shah.

The jury took less than two hours to return unanimous guilty verdicts on all three charges.

Mr Shah said in a statement after the sentencing: "She was always cheerful, caring, friendly and helpful.

"She managed to fit everything in so well with her life: work, study and family. We miss everything about her and we always will.

"She was brutally killed by a ruthless evil man. My four-year-old son, Nikhil, has had to cremate his 23-year-old mum. I wish no other child to have to go through the same pain."

The statement continued: "Today Roshan Dantis has been found guilty of murdering my beautiful wife in the most terrible and terrifying way.

"He deserves a life sentence for his heinous crime and our family is satisfied that he has been brought to justice."

Dantis moved to the UK from India with his wife Astrid in September 2008 to further his studies.

The engineering graduate enrolled on a business and technology course where he met Mr Shah. He had previously worked in the banking industry in his home country and in Dubai.

The pair became friends and through him Dantis met Khusbu Shah.

The trial heard how he got a taxi to the couple's home in Coventry Drive, Dennistoun, on the morning of June 1, giving the driver the false name Abdul.

He is then thought to have launched his assault, strangling her, before cutting her head and hands off.

Dantis put his victim's body in a blue holdall which he had bought from Argos the week before and which was later found dumped in bushes behind the flat.

Plastic bags containing Mrs Shah's head and hands, the cleaver, a towel, disposable gloves and a blood-stained hooded top were concealed in a railway embankment at a footpath between Whitevale Street and Bathgate Street.

Mr Shah tried contacting his wife at 11.55am as he was supposed to be meeting her at lunchtime.

Later that day he received a text message from Mrs Shah's phone which read: "We have ur wife. Don't call police. We are watchin u.

"If anyone is told we will kill her and u."

Sentencing Dantis, Lord Pentland said: "Khusbu Shah was a vibrant and loving young wife and mother whose husband was one of your closest friends.

"The jury has heard that you strangled her, then cut off her head and hands. The exact motive for this appalling crime may never be known but it may well have been a scheme to extort money from Mr Shah."

Dantis was sentenced to a further 10 years for each of the other two crimes which will run concurrent to the murder sentence.

The judge also said he would recommend to the Secretary of State that a deportation order be served on Dantis "in view of the gravity of the crime".