A gay bank worker who murdered his wife and burned her body in the back garden in a desperate attempt to hide his se*uality has been jailed for 21 years.
Jasvir Ginday, 29, throttled Varkha Rani, 24, just months after they smiled for pictures and tied the knot at a lavish arranged marriage ceremony in India attended by 700 people. The Royal Bank of Scotland employee then stuffed her body into a patio incinerator, doused her in petrol and set her alight.
A jury at Wolverhampton crown court heard how neighbours and passers-by had seen smoke with a strange smell coming from the couple’s marital home in Walsall, West Midlands. As the guilty verdict was read out, Ginday – who police say was “living a lie” – stared down at the floor and was told that his actions were “unbelievably casual and callous”.
Throughout the three-week trial, Ginday insisted he had accidentally killed Ms Rani while restraining her with a vacuum cleaner hose. It came after she had apparently threatened to expose his homosexuality to family and friends after finding “compromising” material on an iPad and an iPhone.
But the jury of seven women and five men believed the prosecution’s case that the RBS man had planned the killing of his university-educated wife, just three weeks after she arrived in the UK from India last August.
Among the evidence used against Ginday was an internet search for a patio incinerator, made just days after Ms Rani arrived in the country, and CCTV footage showing him buying a bottle of petrol which he used to burn her body.
Ginday, who had already admitted manslaughter and perverting the course of justice, initially told police that his wife had packed her bags and walked out on him following a row.
Recounting the killing, Ginday told the jury how the couple had an argument on September 12 last year. He claimed she had come at him in the bedroom “thrashing” and he was trying to calm her down.
They ended up on the floor, at which point Ginday said he grabbed the metal pipe of a vacuum cleaner which was lying nearby and put it on her neck. The regular gym-goer insisted that he panicked, dragged his new bride to the incinerator and placed her inside using the metal pole.
The following day, when two police officers carried out a search of the house for clues as to Ms Rani’s whereabouts, Ginday’s story began to fall apart. When one constable asked him the cause of the “ridiculous” smell coming from his yard, he first replied “ashes” but then corrected himself, saying: “I mean leaves.”
Officers then approached the incinerator and discovered Ms Rani’s badly burned remains.
A post-mortem examination was unable to establish a definitive cause of death, but recorded that Ms Rani had a “reddening” of her throat and – after death – had received at least 12 blows to the head from a rounded object, which the prosecution said had been caused by Ginday using a metal pole to push her body further down into the incinerator.
It emerged during the trial that Ginday had entertained concerned family members at his home who were worried about Ms Rani’s disappearance – while her remains were in the incinerator.
In a statement issued following the guilty verdict, Ms Rani’s cousin, Sunil Kumar, said: “No words can truly express the sadness and hurt my family and I are experiencing at the loss of Varkha. She was loved dearly by all, she had a great passion for life and doted on her family.
“Varkha attained a masters degree and was driven to make her life a success. Unfortunately, she fell prey to Ginday who had ulterior motives which Varkha would not have appreciated.”
Detective Chief Inspector Sarbjit Johal, the officer in charge of the murder inquiry, said: “How Varkha met her death still remains a mystery. Her body was badly damaged but it was clear to the pathologist that she was dead when she was put into the incinerator.
“Ginday got married as a matter of convenience – he tricked a poor innocent girl into marriage but was living a lie. When she uncovered the truth, he could not live with it and killed her quickly, then tried to dispose of her body and her possessions by burning them.”