An obsessive killer jailed for life for murdering his former partner in a frenzied knife attack has lost his bid to have his non-parole period reduced.

Rohit Deepak Singh was jailed for life for stabbing his former partner Arishma Singh (Chand) to death.

Justice Grant Powell also imposed a minimum period of imprisonment (MPI) of 19 years for the 43-year-old killer.

Singh, however, sought to reduce the time he would be forced to spend behind bars before being eligible for parole and took his case to the Court of Appeal at the end of July.


At the hearing, his new counsel Mark Ryan argued Justice Powell erred when treating Singh's actions after he killed Arishma as a separate aggravating factor.

Singh had attempted to tell a tale of lies to police and the High Court jury during his trial, which included concocting a bogus alibi.

The jurors didn't buy it, however, and took just 40 minutes to find him guilty after a nearly month-long trial last year.

At the Court of Appeal hearing, Justice Forrie Miller also said it was "extraordinary that he maintained this fiction all the way".

Today, Justice Miller and the two other appeal judges, Justice Mark Woolford and Justice Mary Peters released their decision.

"We do not accept Mr Ryan's submission that Mr Singh's conduct after the event could only be relevant if it served to render his offending sufficiently brutal or cruel or callous," their judgment reads.

The trio ruled Singh's actions after murdering Arishma "is another applicable aggravating factor" - something his trial lawyer Belinda Sellars QC also appeared to have accepted.

"However, even if we were to disregard Mr Singh's actions after the offending, the 19-year MPI would not be manifestly excessive. The court has adopted a 19-year MPI in several other cases in which a defendant has murdered his estranged partner in circumstances similar to those present in this case," the Court of Appeal's decision reads.

Arishma Singh's body was found in her South Auckland home by her parents. Photo / Supplied
Arishma Singh's body was found in her South Auckland home by her parents. Photo / Supplied

Singh lay in wait for the 24-year-old mum to return to her Manurewa home before slaughtering her with a large kitchen knife during the early hours of November 12, 2017.

When sentencing Singh, Justice Powell described the attack as "both brutal and callous".

"An evil act, the consequences of which can never be undone," he said.

The motive for the murder, the court heard during the trial, was Singh's obsession and infatuation with his former girlfriend - which saw him stalk the child educator for a year.

Singh's behaviour included threatening Facebook messages, an inundation of daily calls and text messages and a tattoo of Arishma's face on his chest.

The young woman was also followed by her would-be-killer and photographed. On the night of the murder, Singh was watching her home from a car and had earlier told a friend of his plans to kill her.

Shortly after Arishma returned home from a friend's birthday party Singh attacked.

She was stabbed in the back, shoulder and arm, bashed across the back of her head with a weapon and had her face slashed.

A wound to her groin also cut a vital artery causing her to bleed to death.

Singh then fled the scene, disposing of the gloves, his clothes and the weapons.

Less than 16 minutes later, Arishma's parents arrived home to find their daughter lying in a pool of blood.

The murder weapon has never been found.

Police at the scene of the homicide on Maich Rd in Manurewa on November 12, 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham
Police at the scene of the homicide on Maich Rd in Manurewa on November 12, 2017. Photo / Jason Oxenham

After killing his ex, Singh drove to Auckland's North Shore and made a false statement to police in an attempt to create his bogus alibi.

He said he had been mugged by three girls who had scratched him on the face.

But cellphone polling data contradicted his account and placed him at the murder scene.

The scratch marks on his face also proved to be a match to the DNA found under Arishma's fingernails.

Singh's explanation for the DNA at the scene was a claim it was from a pre-arranged meeting with his ex on the night.

The Court of Appeal judges said this was "wholly implausible".

Arishma's parents, Rakesh and Aradhana Singh, said their daughter's killer was "a despicable person".

"The night I held my lifeless daughter in a pool of blood turned my world upside down - my heart broke into a million pieces," Rakesh wrote in his victim impact statement for Singh's sentencing.

Aradhana said: "I hate you for your cowardly act. You shattered Arishma's dreams and hopes ... I hope you truly never have a day of peace ... After today we shall never think of you again."

Where to get help

If you're in danger now:

• Phone the police on 111 or ask neighbours or friends to ring for you.
• Run outside and head for where there are other people.
• Scream for help so that your neighbours can hear you.
• Take the children with you.
• Don't stop to get anything else.
• If you are being abused, remember it's not your fault. Violence is never okay.

Where to go for help or more information:

• Shine, free national helpline 9am- 11pm every day - 0508 744 633
• Women's Refuge: Free national crisis line operates 24/7 - 0800 refuge or 0800 733 843
• Shakti: Providing specialist cultural services for African, Asian and middle eastern women and their children. Crisis line 24/7 0800 742 584