Parminder met Nikita’s family as ‘Robin’

Melbourne, December 17: Within two days of coming back from India, Parminder Singh, murdered his wife Nikita in the early hours of 9 January 2015 at their Waxman Parade flat in West Brunswick.

Parminder who had come to Australia in 2006 met Nikita in February 2011 and formed a relationship. For various reasons your relationship was kept secret from Nikita’s family. On 8 December 2011, they secretly married – and the marriage was also kept secret.

Nikita Chawla3
Nikita Chawla

In June 2012, under the name ‘Robin’ Parminder met Nikita’s family, but that meeting was not a success. However, the marriage continued and included a trip to India so that Nikita could meet Parminder’s family.

Nikita told her mother in March 2013 she was moving out because she felt suffocated and secretly moved in with Singh.

In April 2013, they moved to live in a flat in Waxman Parade, West Brunswick.

Nikita then then had lap band surgery and lost 25 kilograms, which helped her regain her self-confidence and realised she did not want to be in a relationship with Singh”, The Age reported.

Parminder, who had originally come as a student, in 2010 obtained a bridging visa for residence in Australia. And in March 2014 he succeeded in obtaining permanent residence in Australia as a result of his marriage to Nikita.

Both, having kept their marriage secret, were having difficulties in their relationship and the court was told Parminder needed psychological assistance in the latter part of 2014. Then in November 2014, Nikita encouraged him to go to India to visit his family. Parminder was away until early January 2015 and while he was away he felt his relationship with Nikita was deteriorating further. During that time Nikita commenced work at a health insurance company and formed a relationship with a work colleague. She had also decided to end her marriage with Parminder and had begun looking for somewhere else to live.

On 7 January 2015 Parminder returned to Australia and found that Nikita was having some kind of relationship with another man. On the night of the murder, Parminder managed to access Nikita’s phone and saw a series of messages she had exchanged with another man. He got very angry and felt cheated by Nikita, got hold of the meat cleaver and stabbed her 35 times, till she stopped breathing. After what he had done in that rage, Parminder called 000 and confessed to the murder of his wife Nikita.

The court observed:

“On the following day, and shortly before you murdered your wife, you gained access her to mobile phone while she slept by eventually finding the right security code. You subsequently discovered a series of messages between her and the other man in her life. You claim you felt betrayed.

At about 1:30 m on 9 January 2015, you rang the 000 emergency service and told the operator that you had killed your wife and that you required the police to collect a dead body. You told the operator you had used a knife to cut your wife’s throat. During the course of the plea the phone calls to 000 were played to the Court. Alarmingly, your end of the conversation was all conducted in a calm, detached tone of voice.”

Parminder was arrested by police on the overpass over the Tullamarine Freeway, near their place where he had walked to after the murder. His lawyer said Parminder was contemplating to commit suicide.

At trial, his defence lawyer also raised a number of other issues relating to his mental state but the court took a clear view that – it could not accept Parminder’s mental state at the time of Nikita’s murder lowered his moral culpability in any way.

The court took the view Parminder, in murdering his wife was, in many respects, trying to exercise control over her to ensure that she did not share her life with anyone else and by taking her life the Court thought he was willing to pay the price that the law imposes on him for doing that.

Parminder has been sentenced to be imprisoned for a period of 22 years, having to serve a minimum period of 17 years before being eligible to apply for release on parole. His pre-sentence detention of 343 days will be calculated as time already served.

Pursuant to the Migration Act 1958 (Cth), and in particular s 501(3A), the relevant Minister must cancel a visa if, for an offence against a law of the Commonwealth of Australia, a State or a territory, you are sentenced to serve a sentence of imprisonment on a full-time basis in a custodial institution for more than 12 months.

That law makes it certain that upon release, Parminder will be deported back to India. His parents are 53 and 58 and in about 16 – 17 years, they would be in their 70s. The judge hoped, if they are still alive when he is deported, he could perhaps go back to them and look after them in their final years.

Although many Indians (migrants) might find it incongruous, the judge has clearly stated the law that despite feeling betrayed, Parminder murdered Nikita, who had done nothing to contribute to her death; she was completely entitled to end her marriage with Parminder and form a relationship with someone else if she wished to.

Some people might argue that she was cheating on him and she should have ended her marriage first and then moved on. Perhaps a valid thought, but it is just a thought and not the law or even a social convention in anyway binding on anyone. If Nikita did what was perhaps not right, it did not give Parminder the licence to kill her. The Australian law or society does not support it.

Nikita and Parminder’s story is perhaps a very tragic instance of accidental meeting of second generation and first generation migrants without being offered proper guidance and “cultural re-orientation” to settle into a new country. Unfortunately, both having Indian (perhaps North) roots, simply assumed that they knew the “basics” of their heritage and culture and it should not be too difficult to overcome the teething problems of their new lives together.

Had her marriage been not a secret affair, her parents, would have helped guide her (and Parminder) in their difficult moments and Nikita would most likely be alive today.

As for Parminder’s parents, it is a long journey ahead of them before they would possibly see their son in their life time, if they survive.                                                                                                                                                                                                           -R. VenuGopal

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1 Comment

  1. Although both Indians and Punjabis, but worlds apart in their heads… not a single but the whole system failed to make these two young lives work their things out… they needed help – with their minds – how should one explain – healthy bodies can carry …. minds!

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