21 Nov 2018

Murder-accused held victim as she lay dying, jury hears

4:40 pm on 21 November 2018

The man accused of murdering Arishma Chand has told a jury he held the South Auckland mother as she lay dying - but didn't murder her.

Arishma Chand

Arishma Chand Photo: Supplied

Ms Chand was found stabbed to death in her Manurewa home in the early hours of November 12 last year.

Rohit Deepak Singh, 42, was charged with her murder three days later and is on trial in the High Court at Auckland after pleading not guilty.

Mr Singh took the stand today and told the jury he and Ms Chand were secretly seeing one another when she was killed.

For the past three weeks, the court has heard Mr Singh was an obsessed ex-boyfriend who stalked Ms Chand in the months leading up to her death.

The pair had been in a brief sexual relationship in 2016 where Ms Chand fell pregnant but she got an abortion and broke up with him.

Mr Singh said the pair had resumed their relationship in secret and agreed to see one another the night she died.

That night he parked up outside her home on Maich Rd and waited for her boyfriend to leave before approaching the house.

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

Rohit Deepak Singh told a jury he and Ms Chand were secretly seeing one another when she was killed. Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

He told the jury the front door was open and he found her lying on the floor, wounded and semi-conscious.

"I knelt on my knees and I tried to wake her up. Both my hands were behind her shoulders. I did not shift her. I lifted her up and shook her. When she got up she did not recognise me and she tried to attack me."

Mr Singh, who spoke through a Fiji-Hindi language interpreter, said she clawed him, scratching his face, and told him to leave.

"Her mind was stuck in one place. All she wanted me to do was leave the house and get away from there. I said no, I won't leave and go. She told me to go, that she had called her father and her father would take her to the hospital."

He said he left the house in shock and went straight home to shower before putting his bloodied clothes and shoes in a plastic bag.

He then threw the bag in hot mix asphalt, he said.

Mr Singh told the jury he wanted to phone Ms Chand's family to see how she was but knew she didn't want him to contact her father.

He then drove to the North Shore to see his aunty and uncle, where he said he was robbed by a group of women who stole his watch.

His defence lawyer Belinda Sellars asked him why he told the police he hadn't seen Arishma when questioned the following day.

"I knew that day I had seen Arishma. If I would have told them straight away they wouldn't have listened to me, my story, and they could have put me in the cell. It was my first time [dealing with the police] and I didn't know what to do."

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