Gay Hindu priest killed for his money, court told

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The Independent Online

A prominent Hindu priest who led a secret gay life was stabbed to death by a man he picked up at a bus station, a court was told yesterday.

Harish Purohit was stabbed 16 times in the neck, chest, back and abdomen by Dean Riddell, who denies murder.

Mr Purohit was the secretary of Britain's National Association of Hindu Priests. But Nottingham Crown Court was told that Mr Purohit, 42, led a secret life and was known on Leicester's gay scene.

Joan Butler, QC, for the prosecution, said Mr Purohit's family knew of his homosexuality. He was married to a solicitor, Anjana Joshi, 40.

Ms Butler claimed Mr Purohit knew Mr Riddell, 26, a heroin user who needed money to feed his habit. On the night he was killed, Mr Purohit was seen at the Quebec, a Leicester gay bar, and later at the city's Haymarket bus station.

Ms Butler said: "We say Riddell was picked up there by Mr Purohit and there was going to be some sort of sexual activity, which the deceased would pay him for.

"Mr Purohit was in the habit of carrying lots of cash on his person and in his car. After repeatedly stabbing him the defendant took his money."

Mr Purohit's body was found a few hours later by his brother at a house the deceased owned, after a neighbour told him the property was on fire.

Ms Butler said Mr Riddell arrived at a friend's house "covered in blood". He told his friends "he had killed a man who had tried to rape him".

After his arrest he told detectives that he had been abducted by two Asian men and taken to a house where one man left to fetch others. He said he stabbed Mr Purohit in self-defence to prevent a sex attack.

The trial continues.