Woman 'left dying in street with severed hand'

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The Independent Online

A woman hacked to death on the orders of her husband was left dying in the street with a severed hand, the Old Bailey heard today.

Geeta Aulakh, 28, was executed as she went to collect their two young sons from a childminder because she had begun divorce proceedings, said Aftab Jafferjee, QC, prosecuting.

Harpreet Aulakh, in an act of "breathtaking indifference", had offered £5,000 for her death in a room full of Punjabi men, said Mr Jafferjee.

Mrs Aulakh, who worked for Sunrise Radio as a receptionist, was found dying in Braund Avenue, Greenford, west London, in November last year.

Harpreet Aulakh, 32, of Chesterton Close, Greenford, and Sher Singh, 19, of Wren Avenue, Southall, Harpreet Singh, 20, of Elmwood Road, Slough, and Jaswant Dhillon, 30, of High Road, Ilford, east London, deny murder.

Mr Jafferjee said a group of men struck as Mrs Aulakh was just yards away from the childminders.

He said: "They knew exactly where to wait and when to be there.

"There were three of them, albeit only one would hack her to death.

"So savage and determined was the mission to kill her that when she sought to protect her head, her right hand was completely severed from her arm.

"The man who organised this murder was none other than her own husband. He planned it. The other three defendants executed it."

Mr Jafferjee said the motive for the murder was straightforward.

"Geeta Aulakh was in the process of divorcing him and that would not be tolerated.

"No-one else in the world could possibly have wished this utterly innocent and hard-working woman and mother, any harm."

He said Aulakh knew because of the "history of their relationship" that the finger would be pointed at him.

So he had gone into a pub with CCTV at the time of the murder to ensure he had an alibi, it was alleged.

He had claimed that while there were problems in his marriage, he and his wife had been in the process of working things out.

In truth, the marriage had broken down some time before, said Mr Jafferjee.

He added: "It was the stigma of divorce, particularly for her, which let the marriage limp on.

"She ultimately decided that she had a life which she wanted to lead - but away from him.

"Harpeet Aulakh's reaction displayed a chilling belief - almost certainly culturally rooted - in male unaccountability.

"How dare a mere woman challenge that smug chauvinist mind-set?"

He told the jurors: "You will see breathtaking indifference to the need for secrecy in the preparatory stages of this crime, which also involved the offer of £5,000 by Aulakh in a room full of Punjabi males, for murder to be committed.

"She was determined to divorce him. He was determined that she would not."