19 Feb 2011

Man jailed for 20 years for killing mother, child

6:45 am on 19 February 2011

A man who killed a woman and her two-year-old daughter in a frenzied stabbing attack will serve at least 20 years in jail.

Deepak Nagpal, 24, who had earlier pleaded guilty to killing Ravneet Sangha and her daughter Anna at their home in June last year, was sentenced in the High Court at Rotorua on Friday to life imprisonment with a 20-year non-parole period.

Nagpal, who had been living with the Sangha family, was involved in a business deal with them and believed they owed him money.

With her husband Dev away, Mrs Sangha asked Nagpal to leave the house.

The Crown described the attack - in which he stabbed Mrs Sangha 100 times, breaking three knives in the process, and then pursued and killed the toddler after she witnessed the attack - as brutal, callous and without mercy.

Nagpal's lawyer described him as a calm, compliant, well-mannered young man who snapped.

No remorse over mother - judge

Justice Brewer told Nagpal his actions did not show remorse, and he doubted he felt deeply sorry for killing the mother.

The judge said reports submitted to the court said it was only after Nagpal was first taken into custody that the enormity of his actions struck him.

"I accept that you are deeply sorry that you killed Anna, I am not sure that you are deeply sorry that you caused the death, that you killed Mrs Sangha."

Justice Brewer set a starting point of 23 years' minimum jail, before deducting three years for various mitigating factors, such as Nagpal's age and separation from his family in India.

Husband lunges at killer

After sentencing, Mr Sangha made a dash from the public gallery towards Nagpal, yelling and trying to grab him. Police officers restrained him.

Speaking outside court, Mr Sangha said he respected this country's law and regretted his outburst but had been overcome.

"Only thing I can see is my Anna and Ravi's blood before my eyes."

Police say Mr Sangha's outburst was understandable. Inspector Mike Clement says the case has been emotional for all concerned.

"When we try to relive the last few moments of Ravi and Anna's lives, it was horrific, and my staff and Dev have had to relive those moments many times over since the crime itself and during the investigation into this phase, so the emotion is understandable."