29 Oct 2018

Man accused of murder 'obsessed' with victim, court told

5:23 pm on 29 October 2018

The man accused of murdering South Auckland mother Arishma Chand has been painted as an obsessed ex-boyfriend whose relentless infatuation drove him to kill her.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Rohit Deepak Singh is on trial in the High Court at Auckland after pleading not guilty to murdering Ms Chand.

The 24-year-old mother was found stabbed to death in her Manurewa home on 12 November last year.

In her opening address, Crown prosecutor Claire Robertson told the jurors Mr Singh had become "infatuated" with Ms Chand while they were in a sexual relationship in 2016.

"He remained obsessed with her, even after their relationship ended in August, 2016. He refused to accept that she didn't want to be with him. It was this obsession which eventually drove him to kill her."

Ms Robetson said Ms Chand moved to New Zealand from Fiji in 2014 before she married and had a child.

She soon seperated from her husband and then lived with Mr Singh, who had previously worked with her father, while her family searched for a permanent place to live.

The pair began a sexual relationship, kept secret from her parents even after she moved in with them, and she fell pregnant.

The Crown prosecutor said Ms Chand ended the relationship but Mr Singh refused to accept the break up.

She said he stalked the young mother; messaging her on an almost-daily basis and sending her flowers on Valentine's Day.

"The messages went unanswered but Mr Singh didn't give up. At the end of August, the defendant went to a tattoo parlour and had a picture of Ms Chand's face tattooed on his chest. He then sent a picture of this tattoo to Ms Chand; presumably with the hope that she would change her mind."

Ms Robertson said Mr Singh had told a colleague if Ms Chand wasn't going to be with him, she couldn't be with anyone else.

"On the 12th of November, Arishma was the subject of a brutal and prolonged attack with a knife and another weapon."

Arishma Chand

Arishma Chand Photo: Supplied

Ms Robertson said Ms Chand had arrived home from a night out with her boyfriend, but called her parents shortly after he left, worried that someone was outside.

They said they were 15 minutes away and arrived 16 minutes later to find their daughter dead - with 26 cuts and stabs to face, thigh, groin and hands.

"Ms Chand was also repeatedly struck on the back of her head and received eight sharp blunt injuries to her skull," Ms Robertson said.

The Crown prosecutor said it was Mr Singh who planned and executed the murder before fleeing the scene.

She said he changed his clothes and drove to the North Shore, where he called the police and told them he had been robbed earlier that night by three women who scratched his face.

"The Crown's case is that this robbery never occurred. Mr Singh fabricated this robbery complaint to distance himself from the offending and to provide an alternative explanation for the injuries he had received to his face."

Ms Robertson said a gash in his face had actually come from Ms Chand as she desperately tried to defend herself from him.

She said his DNA was found under her fingernails in a post-mortem examination, and that her blood was also located in the foot well of the car he had been driving that night.

The trial before Justice Powell and a jury of three women and nine men is set down for four weeks.