An "obsessed and infatuated" man spending his life behind bars for the brutal and frenzied murder of his former partner will appeal his conviction after a jury took just 40 minutes to find him guilty.

Rohit Deepak Singh's sins were laid bare before a jury last year, which quickly reached a unanimous verdict and found him to be Arishma Singh's (Chand) killer during the early hours of November 12, 2017.

They had heard at the nearly month-long High Court trial that Singh lay in wait for the 24-year-old mum to return to her Manurewa home before slaughtering her with a large kitchen knife.

The now 43-year-old Singh was then sentenced in February to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 19 years by Justice Grant Powell.


"It was both brutal and callous," the judge said.

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

However, later this month, Singh and his evil act will return to court as he challenges both his conviction and sentence in the Court of Appeal.

Crown prosecutor Yelena Yelavich had sought a minimum of 18 to 19 years in prison for Singh, who stalked his ex for a year and broke into her home wearing gloves and wielding weapons.

The motive for the murder was his obsession and infatuation with his old girlfriend, the court heard at the trial.

Singh's relationship with the child educator had ended in August 2016 but he "refused to accept she didn't want to be with him", Crown lawyer Claire Robertson said.

"It was this obsession which drove him to kill her."

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

Shortly after her death, the Herald revealed Arishma had just returned home from a friend's birthday party when she was killed.


Less than 16 minutes later Singh was gone and Arishma's parents arrived at the house.

They found their daughter 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 had also cut a vital artery.

The murder weapon was never found.

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

Arishma was also followed by her would-be-killer and photographed, while on the night of the murder he was watching Arishma's home from a car.

Cellphone polling data placed him near the house at the time.

He had also earlier told a friend of his plans to kill.

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 the murder, Singh fled to the North Shore and later created a bogus alibi about being the victim of a robbery.

Scratch marks on his face, however, which he attributed to his fake mugging, were a match to the DNA found under Arishma's fingernails.

At Singh's sentencing, Arishma's parents, Rakesh and Aradhana Singh, called their daughter's killer "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.

A statement from Arishma's mum to the killer read: "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 of 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