A Sydney woman heard a ‘loud blood-curdling’ scream before seeing her neighbour engulfed in flames and her husband behind her, his murder trial has been told.
Kulwinder Singh poured petrol on his wife before setting her alight after arguing over money, prosecutor Philip Hogan alleged to the jury in the crown opening address on Thursday.
But Singh’s barrister, Margaret Cunneen SC, said Parwinder Kaur poured the petrol and set herself on fire to create a ‘drama’, confident the blaze would be put out.
A Sydney woman heard a ‘loud blood-curdling’ scream before seeing her neighbour (pictured right) engulfed in flames and her husband (pictured left) behind her, his murder trial has been told
Kulwinder Singh poured petrol on his wife (pictured) before setting her alight after arguing over money, prosecutor Philip Hogan alleged to the jury in the crown opening address on Thursday
‘The crown case has no merit and Mr Singh is an entirely innocent man,’ she told the NSW Supreme Court jury.
Singh, 42, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 32-year-old wife on December 2, 2013, at their Rouse Hill home.
Mr Hogan said about 10 minutes before the neighbour heard the scream Ms Kaur called triple-zero.
In the call played to the jury, she gave her address then said ‘my husband nearly killed me’ before the operator asked: ‘What did he do to you?’
But there was no answer and the call was terminated.
The prosecutor said scientific evidence indicated there was a period of some minutes between the petrol being poured on Ms Kaur and it being set alight.
The Crown contended Singh set his wife on fire due to money and financial disputes including his requests for her to contribute to the mortgage and his unhappiness at her giving funds to her student brother.
On a visit to India, Singh allegedly told his sister-in-law that if his wife wanted a divorce he would not agree, saying ‘we kill people and nobody can find out’.
Singh, 42 (pictured left), has pleaded not guilty to murdering his 32-year-old wife (pictured right) on December 2, 2013, at their Rouse Hill home
The Crown contended Singh (pictured) set his wife on fire due to money and financial disputes including his requests for her to contribute to the mortgage and his unhappiness at her giving funds to her student brother
‘You will hear from members of Parwinder’s family that in the days before her death she told them she wanted to get a divorce,’ Mr Hogan said.
When police arrived at the home, Singh said he had told his wife if she wasn’t going to contribute money he was going to live at his mother’s house.
‘He said she got upset,’ Mr Hogan said.
Singh said he was upstairs in the bedroom packing some clothes when he heard his wife screaming.
He ran downstairs and saw her on the driveway on fire.
But Mr Hogan contended Singh had poured petrol on his wife in the laundry and then used a cigarette lighter found on the floor.
Ms Cunneen alleged Ms Kaur tragically died after perhaps becoming frustrated about various matters and deciding to ‘create a drama and to set fire to herself when she was confident it would soon be put out’.
‘There is simply no forensic evidence that supports the crown case,’ she said.
‘It all points to the only other possibility that, for her own reasons, she set herself on fire.’
Singh (pictured) said he was upstairs in the bedroom packing some clothes when he heard his wife screaming
Ten of her fingerprints were found on the petrol tin, but none of her husband’s and only her fingerprint was found on the lighter as well as only her DNA.
‘There was not a skerrick of petrol’ on his shirt, trousers or sandals although petrol traces were found on the laundry floor, she said.
Ms Kaur had very long hair, but this was unsinged despite most of her body being terribly burned.
‘The defence case is she had protected her hair with a towel and neither her face nor her scalp were burned.’
Ms Kaur ended a phone call with her brother shortly before she rang triple zero, only saying her husband was asking about money again, Ms Cunneen said.
The trial continues before Justice Natalie Adams.