A 46-year-old Indian-origin former banker on trial in the UK over allegations that he fatally stabbed his wife with 124 blows with an axe has been found guilty of her murder.
Sonita Nijhawan was discovered in a pool of blood in her family estate in Surrey, south England, in May this year. Her husband, Sanjay Nijhawan, was yesterday found guilty of murder but convicted at Guildford crown court of a lesser charge of manslaughter on the ground of diminished responsibility.
The jury had heard that he accepted he had killed his wife, but claimed that he did so after his depression spiralled out of control and he felt he had “no option” but to kill her, according to ‘The Times’.
He will be sentenced on Monday.
Sonita Nijhawan’s mother, Nirmala Parkash, said in a victim impact statement to the court: “I keep thinking of it in my head, it is like a film. How afraid she must have felt. I feel it like a deep open wound, like an abyss.
“I can’t even look at pictures of her, I had to take photos down around the house because it is unbearable.” Mrs Nijhawan had wanted a divorce shortly after her husband left his job having suffered from depression and stress.
A post-mortem examination revealed that the 38-year-old died of injuries to her head and neck, having suffered 124 wounds including 25 stab wounds to the side of her neck.
Injuries to her hands showed that she had tried to defend herself.
Prosecutor Sally O’Neill said: “The number and nature of her cuts make it clear that she was the victim of a fatal and sustained attack. She had a very large number of cut and stab injuries to her neck and head.”
The court was told that after he was arrested, Sanjay Nijhawan told officers that he had become “deranged” and had suffered a nervous breakdown.
He had reportedly quit his job with Barclays Capital Wealth after suffering from depression and anxiety and got further upset when his wife sought a divorce.
Sanjay Nijhawan had also grown increasingly anxious about his 670,000 pound mortgage on the couple’s 2.6-million pound home in Surrey.
The former banker denied murdering his wife and the defence case was that he had an abnormality of mental function.