Jilted lover murdered victim by lacing curry with poison
Man was blind, paralysed an hour after eating dish
Published 11/02/2010 | 05:00
A SPURNED woman who laced her lover's curry with a substance known as the queen of poisons was convicted of his murder yesterday.
Lakhvir Kaur Singh (40) took revenge on Lakhvinder Cheema (39) after discovering that he was engaged to Gurjeet Choough (22). Singh had recently been told by Mr Cheema that their own 16-year affair was at an end, and she wanted to stop the wedding.
The married mother of three sprinkled Indian aconite into a meal that Mr Cheema and her young rival were eating as they talked about their wedding, planned for Valentine's Day last year.
Within an hour of eating the curry, Mr Cheema, known as "Lucky", was blind and paralysed. He died in hospital while Ms Choough, who had eaten less of the meal, survived.
Singh was also found guilty of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Ms Choough, but was cleared of trying to murder her.
The jury at the Old Bailey is still considering whether she attempted to murder Mr Cheema with the same poison a month earlier.
Singh and Mr Cheema, who were related by marriage, had kept their affair secret to avoid scandalising their families. But Singh, whose husband was abroad receiving treatment for cancer at the time of the murder, said that she had "sacrificed everything" for her lover by having three abortions.
In November 2008, Mr Cheema announced that he wanted to start a family with Ms Choough and stopped seeing Singh, who then took a trip to India where it is thought that she bought the poison. She claimed that she used it as a herbal remedy for a skin complaint by mixing it with cow urine.
Days after her return, in December 2008, Mr Cheema became ill. Doctors were unable to diagnose the illness and he spent a week in hospital.
Ed Brown, QC, for the prosecution, told the court: "It was all changing and an important part of this defendant's life was turned upside down and into turmoil.
"The 16 years of the love affair was about to disappear. All the hopes and aspirations, however unrealistic, were evaporating before her very eyes."
Within minutes of eating the curry on January 27, 2009, the couple began to lose their sight as well as control of their arms and legs. CCTV footage from outside their house in Feltham, West London, showed Mr Cheema's prone body being carried to a waiting car.
After her arrest, Singh tried to blame her brother-in-law, Varinder, for the death.
But a lodger at the house saw her take a container with the curry out of the fridge earlier in the day.