Husband jailed for wife's 'chilling' machete murder
A man convicted of murdering his wife who was hacked to death with a machete after demanding a divorce, has been jailed for life.
Geeta Aulakh, 28, had her hand severed and suffered head injuries in the west London attack, the Old Bailey heard.
Her husband Harpreet Aulakh, 32, of Greenford, who ordered the murder, was jailed for a minimum of 28 years.
Sher Singh, 19, of Southall, and Jaswant Dhillon, 30, of Ilford, east London, were also convicted of murder.
Both men were jailed for life and ordered to serve a minimum of 22 years.
The court heard the mother-of-two, who was a receptionist at Asian radio station Sunrise Radio, was attacked in Greenford in November 2009 as she walked to a childminder's house to pick up her two sons, aged eight and 10.
Aulakh planned the "chilling" murder as "Geeta Aulakh was in the process of divorcing him and that would not be tolerated," Aftab Jafferjee QC, prosecuting, said.
Sentencing the three killers Mr Justice Saunders said: "It was a pointless, cold-blooded killing of a woman about whom no-one except Aulakh had a bad word to say."
In a victim impact statement read in court Mrs Aulakh's mother, Nardesh Shinh, said: "At 28, she had everything to live for and was a perfect role model for any young mother.
"What kind of life will those young children now have?
"It breaks my heart knowing that they will never feel their mother's love ever again.
"Since Geeta's death, we have all been mentally scarred and feel life has come to a standstill.
"Seeing Geeta in the hospital, lying there with her eyes open, will stay with me forever.
"I feel Geeta was hanging on just to hear my voice because as soon as I got to the hospital and called her name and said 'Geeta, I am here', she passed away.
"To see my baby hurt and then leaving me was the hardest thing for me as a mother to accept.
"As a family, we have gone through all of the emotions but mostly we are angry and disgusted that there are such evil and inhumane people in the world who think they have the right to take my daughter's life in this animal-like attack."
Arranging an alibi
Mrs Shinh added: "Geeta, we promise as a family to bring up your children with love, respect and honour, just as you did."
The court heard Aulakh planned her murder after his wife asked for a divorce. He also bought the 14in machete from a shop.
Months before the murder the husband also began to suspect his wife of having an affair, although this was unfounded, the court heard.
In order to give himself an alibi Aulakh went to a pub with a friend at the time of the murder to make sure he was captured on CCTV, the trial heard.
Following the sentencing Det Ch Insp Howard Groves of the Metropolitan Police said: "Geeta was a much loved woman whose only 'crime' in the eyes of those convicted, and in particular her husband, was her decision to divorce him in order to make a better life for her children and herself, without his controlling and domineering influence."
Moya Reed, senior lawyer for the Crown Prosecution Service in London, said: "This is a horrific case of domestic violence, where an arrogant, jealous and manipulative husband killed his wife simply because he would not accept that she wanted to divorce him."
In response to Sher Singh's conviction and sentence, a UK Border Agency spokesman said: "The UK Border Agency was not able to take action whilst criminal proceedings were ongoing, but as a foreign national criminal Singh will automatically be considered for deportation once he has completed his sentence."
The jury was unable to reach a verdict on a fourth defendant, Harpreet Singh, 20, from Slough in Berkshire, who had denied murder and will face a retrial at a later date.