Cross-culture love affair sparked beside Taj Mahal ends in tragedy
Rickshaw driver dies in 'gas explosion' after American wife stabbed to death
It began as a fairytale, cross-culture love affair that played out against the backdrop of the Taj Mahal itself. It ended in darkness and tragedy.
Police in the north Indian city of Agra have confirmed that an Indian rickshaw driver stabbed his American wife to death before killing himself after their relationship ran into problems.
Reports said Erin Willinger’s body was found by the side of the road with multiple stab wounds in a remote part of Agra last week. Hours later, police discovered the body of her husband, Bunty Sharma, who apparently killed himself by settling alight cooking gas and causing a massive explosion in his home.
The couple had met last year when Ms Willinger, 35, from Pennsylvania, travelled to Agra with friends. They fell in love and married in October on the rooftop of a hotel with views of the Taj Mahal, the 17 Century mausoleum built by Mughal emperor Shah Jahan in memory of his third and favourite wife, Mumtaz Mahal.
Ms Willinger had taken an Indian name, Kiran Sharma, and began working with a local NGO to promote tourism in the city. Mr Sharma, 32, continued to work as a rickshaw driver.
Police say they separated soon after because of differences. Local media reported that Mr Sharma accused Ms Willinger of smoking too much, talking to other men and “not staying at home”. They were living apart and consulting a counsellor.
The Taj Mahal in Agra, backdrop to a cross-culture tragedy “Both of them tried to resolve their differences and even met with a marriage counsellor,” Agra police chief Shalabh Mathur told the Associated Press.
Last year Ms Willinger, a trained psychologist and yoga teacher, said she wanted to stay in Agra and work to counter environmental degradation in the city. She said she wanted to make it a place worthy of the Taj Mahal. Ms Wilingerwas also involved in a project to help lepers.
“This city needs a push. We need new community leaders who can command respect and inspire people,” she told the Indo-Asian News Service. “The city is dirty and no one wants to stay back here for a night. You have to teach people to be conscious of hygiene, health and the sensibilities of others. You have to build trust and reach out.”
Police said that Ms Willinger’s family had been informed.
In a statement, Peter Vroomaan, a spokesman for the US embassy, said: "We can confirm the death of US citizen Erin Willinger in Agra, India on February 20 2014. We offer our condolences to her family and loved ones on their loss. We are in contact with her family and are providing all appropriate consular assistance. Out of respect for the privacy of those affected, we have no further comment."
- 1 Crystal meth addict 'gouged out his eyes and ate them' while high on drug, Australian MP claims
- 2 Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
- 3 Group of students refused entry to Leicester nightclub 'because they are black'
- 4 Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
- 5 Arsenal fan asks the Queen for tickets to the FA Cup final - gets a reply from Buckingham Palace
Ireland's same-sex marriage vote: Dublin in party mood ahead of historic poll result
Saudi Arabia 'seeking to head United Nations Human Rights Council'
The ten most unequal developed countries in the world
Toddler throws a tantrum at the White House – in front of Barack Obama
Irish people are travelling home from all over the world so they can vote to legalise gay marriage
As a white man, I'm surprised more women aren't tweeting the hashtag #KillAllWhiteMen
Scotland may have to leave the EU even if it votes to stay in, David Cameron confirms
Report finds that Britain's wages are the most unequal in Europe
The day that Britain resigned as a global power
Almost a third of school pupils believe 'Muslims are taking over our country', study claims
Gay marriage 'Bert and Ernie' cake bakery found guilty of discrimination in Northern Ireland
£40-50K: Guru Careers: We are seeking an experienced Software / C# Developer w...
£35 - 40k + Benefits: Guru Careers: We are seeking a Software Developer (JavaS...
£18000 - £23000 per annum + Commission: SThree: As a Trainee Recruitment Consu...