Murder victim was 'going to police'

LYN HUMPHREYS
Last updated 05:00 01/11/2012

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A fearful Indian woman intended to go to police the very next day to report threats from her former lover.

But the next day she was dead, found on the floor of the family garage by her husband in an apparent suicide.

The couple were working out a separation agreement at the time.

Shanal Sajesh Kumar, 29, a Fijian Indian, was arrested last year and was charged with murdering his lover, Dipti Patel, 42, at Gaine St about April 7, 2009.

Kumar has denied his guilt.

Yesterday, the jury in the second week of the murder trial in the High Court at New Plymouth heard from Mrs Patel's good friend Kiran Moral.

A visibly nervous Mrs Moral told the court that Kumar told her about the affair, seeking her out at work.

After she spoke to Dipti Patel, her friend had confided in her in the following weeks, telling her of the problems she was having in the aftermath after her husband and children found out about the affair.

Mrs Moral said she was very concerned about the woman she knew as vibrant. She became pale and looked sick.

She was shocked when she saw her on the street. She had lost a lot of weight and was walking "like an old woman".

Mrs Patel was angry, telling her friend that she was transferring money from her account into her husband's after her husband asked her to do it.

Mrs Moral said she wondered if her husband wanted this done because he was concerned the accused was interested in his wife's money.

Mrs Moral talked her friend into ringing her sister in India. She did so from Mrs Moral's home and was a bit happier afterwards.

"They were very concerned about her."

Her sister advised her to go back to India to live, "but Dipti said she didn't want to go because she didn't want to leave her children".

When Mrs Moral asked why she did not go to her lover, Mrs Patel replied she would not because her two sons were far too important to her.

On the day before Mrs Patel died, Mrs Moral went to visit her at her Gaine St home.

Mrs Patel told her of the phone calls the family were getting from the accused and that he had rung other friends and family to tell them of the affair.

"I said ‘Dipti you need to go to see the police.' She said ‘We [her husband and herself] are going to go tomorrow'.

"I told her to keep the door locked and don't answer the door.

"We were both crying because I couldn't do anything for her and I told her that. She patted me on my left shoulder and said ‘It's OK as long as I have someone to talk to is enough for me'."

To defence counsel Peter Winter, Mrs Moral agreed the affair was a shock to her and the Gujarati community.

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The accused had told her that he was concerned about how Dipti Patel's husband was treating her.

"Dipti had told him her husband didn't treat her like the accused did."

She knew Dipti Patel's husband well and agreed he would not approve of the affair.

"Mukesh is a very kind gentle man. I don't know if he's a very angry person."

- Taranaki Daily News

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