30 Oct 2018

Murder accused watched victim's house, court told

6:23 pm on 30 October 2018

A court has been told the man accused of murdering South Auckland mother Arishma Chand was an "easy target" for the police.

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, 42, 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 November 12 last year.

Yesterday the Crown opened its case against Mr Singh, painting him as a jealous ex-boyfriend whose obsession drove him to kill her.

Crown prosecutor Claire Robertson said he became infatuated with Ms Chand while they were in a sexual relationship in 2016.

Their relationship ended that same year but Ms Robertson said he wouldn't accept the break up and continued pursuing her; stalking her, sending her flowers and even getting a picture of Ms Chand's face tattooed on his chest.

Ms Robertson said his obsession with her culminated in the violent attack that killed her.

This morning, Mr Singh's defence lawyer Belinda Sellars told the jury of three women and nine men that her client was innocent.

"Rohit Singh was not the person who killed Ms Chand. Obviously the police and the Crown have developed a theory. It's a detailed theory and it points to him but the defence says it's quite wrong.

She said her client was an "easy target" for the police and asked the jury to keep an open mind throughout the trial.

Crown witness Sharun Deo, who lived with Mr Singh throughout 2016, said he was devastated after the break up.

Arishma Chand

Arishma Chand Photo: Supplied

"He was upset and heartbroken. He looked sad and he always discussed his relationship with me so I knew he was upset.

She said Mr Singh told her he'd park in Ms Chand's street and watch her house, even paying someone working in a garage across the road to keep an eye on her.

Ms Deo described one conversation in which the accused said he could get rid of the young mother.

"He told me that, if he wanted to, he could make Arishma disappear; either by him or by someone else."

When cross-examining her, Belinda Sellars asked her if she was sure Mr Singh said anything about hurting Ms Chand, to which Ms Deo said yes.

Ms Deo told the court when the pair were in a relationship they seemed happy and in love.

She went on to agree with Ms Sellars' propositions that he was a kind and gentle man who liked looking after people.

The Crown is set to call more than 60 witnesses during the month-long trial, including emergency personnel, forensic experts and Ms Chand's parents.