Amandeep Kaur (Amandeep) and her lover Gurjinder Singh both New Zealanders of Indian origin were convicted of murder of Davender Singh, husband of Amandeep Kaur. In 2016 they were both sentenced each to life imprisonment with a minimum period of imprisonment of 17 years’ imprisonment.
Amandeep later filed an appeal against the conviction and sentence and an application for leave to admit new evidence of domestic abuse by her husband, the now deceased Davender Singh.
Justice French of the Court of Appeal of the High Court of New Zealand, on October 17, dismissed the appeals against conviction and sentence and declined leave to admit new evidence. As a result, both Amandeep and Gurjinder will spend a minimum of 17 years in jail.
How it happened:
Amandeep and Davender were married in Rajasthan India in 2002. It was an arranged marriage. The couple emigrated to New Zealand in 2007.
In late March 2014, Amandeep began an affair with Gurjinder Singh who was also married at the time. They were working at the same place where Gurjinder was a trainee and Amandeep was his supervisor. Their affair was discovered by Davender and Gurjinder’s wife on 11 July 2014 but both promised their partners to end it forthwith.
But they did not and they began communicating with each other at work primarily by writing notes. Amandeep expressed her love for Gujrinder and her wish to be free of her husband and to live with Gurjinder. They started planning to kill Davender and their plan as recorded in the notes was that Amandeep would try to get her husband Davender to drive down one of the roads near their house and to stop on the side of the road to talk as the two of them often did. Gurjinder would follow in his car and kill Davender with a knife by slitting his throat.
On 7 August 2014, as planned they both killed Davender.
As had been planned Amandep told police Davender had been a victim of a robbery gone wrong. She said the assailant was a stranger.
Later when police obtained CCTV footage of the incident, she named Gurjinder as the assailant. She said the two men had and argument d and got into a physical fight during the course of which Gurjinder stabbed Davender who died at the scene.
When police showed intimate text messages between the two of them, she still maintained her innocence and told police the affair had finished about three weeks earlier and that Davender had forgiven her. She denied any involvement in the murder, saying she could not kill her husband.
Later she admitted there had been a plan to kill Davender devised by Gurjinder but she did not take it seriously and was never part of it.
Both Gurjinder and Amandeep were allowed to meet and speak to each other in police presence. And they open blamed each other for the murder. At one point Gurjinder asked Amandeep whether she had told police how she had assisted him in the stabbing, to which she responded “I did not help in that”. Gurjinder expressed incredulity and accused her of holding Davender’s hand under her to which Amandeep replied “enough please”.
Amandeep was charged with murder and remanded in custody. While awaiting trial she wrote letters to a brother in India asking him to kidnap relatives of Gurjinder including a four year old, and kill them unless Gurjinder took all the blame for Davender’s death.
Police found several of the notes that had passed between Amandeep and Gurjinder. It was common ground that the notes found were not the complete set. All were undated. Most of the notes that were found were ones written by Amandeep.
Defence at trial
At trial Amandeep said everything changed on 5 August 2014 because after a long discussion lasting 40–45 minutes she and Davender reconciled. She said she realised she wanted to spend the rest of her life with Davender.
Amandeep further said that on both 6 and 7 August she told Gurjinder the affair was over and that she wanted nothing more to do with the murder plan. She said she “cancelled the plan”.
In support of her defence of withdrawal, Amandeep relied on two notes she had written to Gurjinder. She said she had given Gurjinder these notes on the morning of 6 August 2014. The first of the notes, which she testified she handed Gurjinder at 8.00 am on 6 August, read:
Tell me [p]lz can we finish [e]verything to[o] hard for me my love. Plz [t]ell me what u think if u love me can u m[a]ke ea[s]y my life plz I hope you understand me. Cm and see my driver [r]ack [a reference to a meeting place in the warehouse at work].
Amandeep said through the note she had told Gurjinder that the affair was finished, and that she did not want anything more to do with him or the plan to kill Davender.
The second note, which Amandeep said she gave to Gurjinder around three hours later at 11.00 am, said:
If you think that I bother you or force you please let me know then please.
I do not want to give you trouble but happ[i]ness. You should not feel like I am force you.
Love you.
Love is to give happiness not pain. I do not want to give you botheration. Please tell me whatever you feel easy to do.
Whatever [is] meant to happen with me has happened but I really loved you a lot and today I am in such a situation that I cannot sow my love.
You are [the] first and last love in my life. Love you so much and love your smile.
During trial Amandeep told the court that until the affair, her relationship with Davender had been “very, very good, there was absolutely no problems of any kind.” According to Gurjinder’s evidence, Amandeep had told him that Davender had beaten her throughout her marriage whenever he was drunk and that it was an unhappy marriage. When this was put to her by Gurjinder’s trial counsel, she strongly denied it, saying Davender had never touched her before the affair and that they had been very happy together. She also adamantly rejected any suggestion that he dominated her saying they had always made joint decisions. This was consistent with evidence about the state of the marriage from friends and lodgers.
Leave for new evidence on appeal:
Quite contrary to her story at trial, the new evidence that Amandeep sought to admit on appeal contained a detailed account of serious physical, sexual and psychological abuse and control which she says was inflicted on her by Davender throughout their married life and which she kept secret until undergoing counselling in prison. She says she is from a culture where women are very much subservient to men, particularly when a woman is married, and that it was due to her cultural upbringing that she did not want to tell others about the violence, fearing retribution and embarrassment.
Amandeep’s new evidence she thought would have explained to jury her strange actions and a better understanding of the effects of intimate partner violence.
The court did not find her new story credible particularly in light of, as the court put it, a pattern of manipulative behaviour and chronic lying to suit circumstances.
Both lovers now are spending time behind bars, separately of course, for the next 17 years at least. The Punjabi love-triangle has resulted in such a horrible tragedy for the ones left behind.

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