Leicester

Leicester 'honour' attacker jailed for 23 years

Bharat Soma Image copyright Leicestershire Police
Image caption Bharat Soma said he had been under a black magic curse when he carried out the attack

A man who tried to kill a woman and her boyfriend after she refused to marry him has been jailed.

Bharat Soma slashed the throat of Darshana Narotam, 18, and stabbed Prashant Govinde, 23, in the neck on a Leicester street in January after they fled their homes in London.

Soma, 26, who also injured a teenager, was found guilty at Leicester Crown Court of two counts of attempted murder and a third charge of wounding.

The judge sentenced him to 23 years.

Image copyright Leicestershire police
Image caption Officers recorded the scene of the attack, near a police station, on their body cameras

Mr Justice Saunders described the attack as an attempt at a cold-blooded murder to prevent Darshana Narotam from marrying anyone else.

Soma tracked down Ms Narotam, who was 17 at the time, and Mr Govinde to Leicester and struck while they were shopping in the city's East Park Road.

Armed with a kitchen knife, Soma grabbed Ms Narotam and slit her throat before stabbing Mr Govinde in the neck. A 15-year-old boy who was with them, who cannot be identified because of his age, suffered a cut to his hand.

During the eight-week trial, the jury watched footage from body cameras worn by the officers which caught the moments the couple thought they were going to die.

As they lay huddled together in a pool of blood, Ms Narotam told Mr Govinde: "I'm going to die. You won't be able to save me now."

Image copyright Nottinghamshire Police
Image caption CCTV showed Bharat Soma following the couple down the street in the minutes before the attack

Officers stemmed the bleeding and took a short statement on the cameras in what they thought could have been the last chance to interview the victims.

Soma, who denied the charges, said he carried out the attack because his "mind wasn't working" and he was a victim of black magic.

The jury had heard an agreement had been made between Ms Narotam's family and Soma, who were from the same part of India, that they would marry after she turned 18.

Steve Chappell, chief crown prosecutor for the East Midlands, described the attempted murders as a "shocking attack in broad daylight".

"The victims had done absolutely nothing to warrant being attacked. There is no honour involved in this kind of incident - just violence," he said.

"Bharat Soma acted as he did because a young woman had refused to marry him. Today he has faced the consequences of his actions."

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