Life term for husband who killed while on bail

By Patrice Dougan, Derek Cheng

The judge told Rajeshwar Singh at his sentencing that he had a "deeply worrying attitude" towards women. Photo / Mark Mitchell
The judge told Rajeshwar Singh at his sentencing that he had a "deeply worrying attitude" towards women. Photo / Mark Mitchell

Protection orders need to be robustly enforced if they are to protect the lives they are supposed to, a family violence support group says.

It comes as police vowed to review their actions following the sentencing of Wellington man Rajeshwar Singh, 47, who stabbed his wife to death while he was on bail for breaching a protection order.

At the High Court in Wellington yesterday, Singh was sentenced to life imprisonment with a minimum non-parole period of 16 years, and three months' jail for breaching two protection orders.

The taxi driver broke into his wife Sarwan Lata's Woodridge home in November and stabbed her to death after avoiding the home's new locks and an elaborate warning system of vases and chairs that a fearful Ms Lata had laid out by the front doors. She was so afraid of Singh that she reportedly slept with a knife and a meat cleaver.

Police had a long history with the couple, investigating several claims of family violence over a 10-year period.

Yesterday, Detective Senior Sergeant Tim Leitch said police would look at whether they should have done anything differently.

"We've got to remember ... a protection order is a piece of paper, and it requires the will of all to make sure people adhere."

Jill Proudfoot, director of family violence support group Shine, said protection orders were a "useful tool", but needed to be enforced consistently. They were unlikely to work with abusers like Singh - who was bailed after making 38 abusive and threatening phone calls to Ms Lata in 26 minutes - who show such obsessive behaviour.

"She [Ms Lata] would have been probably pretty dismayed that he was granted bail on condition that he didn't contact her or go to her house, because there was very low likelihood that he would take any notice of that."

Judge Justice Ronald Young said Singh had a "deeply worrying" attitude to women.

- APNZ

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