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Gay banker jailed for wife murder
A gay bank worker who murdered his arranged bride in a pre-planned attempt to hide his sexuality has been ordered to serve at least 21 years behind bars.
Jasvir Ginday stared down at the floor in the dock as he was told that his decision to strangle Varkha Rani and burn her body using petrol was "unbelievably casual and callous".
Ginday, 29, from Walsall, was unanimously convicted of murder at Wolverhampton Crown Court after jurors heard that he throttled his wife just a month after she arrived in the UK from India.
Ginday was arrested last September after setting fire to Varkha's body in a patio incinerator in his back garden and telling neighbours he was disposing of "general rubbish".
The Royal Bank of Scotland employee, who was planning to take up a job with the Financial Services Ombudsman, married his university-educated wife in a lavish ceremony attended by 700 guests in India in March last year.
The 24-year-old victim came to Britain to live with Ginday at his parents' home in Victory Lane five months later, and is thought to have been killed with a metal vacuum cleaner pipe on September 12 last year.
Passing sentence, Judge John Warner told Ginday, who has no previous convictions, that his behaviour towards Varkha before the killing had been a "fundamental deception" of a vulnerable woman living thousands of miles away from her home country.
Jailing Ginday for life with a minimum term of 21 years, Judge Warner said: "It was a very cruel situation in which you put her.
"You have told lie after lie about a number of matters such that it is impossible to rely on anything you say.
"I am satisfied that you intended to kill - you are a devious, controlling man and a meticulous planner in a number of aspects of your life."
Ginday had found himself in a dilemma of his own making, the judge said, adding: "I do not know for sure how you killed her but the rest afterwards we do know.
"Killing her was a dreadful enough thing to have done, but what followed was horrible almost beyond imagining.
"You behaved in an unbelievably casual and callous way, with a complete lack of any humanity.
"No one who was in court to hear that evidence will easily put out of their minds, the image of her body being poked and prodded by you down into that incinerator."
Scratches on Ginday's face at the time of his arrest had been caused during Ms Rani's no doubt desperate attempts to save herself, the judge said.
Ginday, who appeared in the dock wearing a dark suit, pink shirt and blue patterned tie, was also given a concurrent five-year sentence for doing acts tending to pervert the course of justice.
CCTV evidence shown at the four-week trial proved the bank worker drove to a garage forecourt and filled up a two-litre water bottle with petrol on September 12 last year.
Smoke was seen coming from the garden of Ginday's home later the same day and Ms Rani was subsequently reported as missing.
Thick smoke was again spotted rising from the rear of the house the following morning, when the fire was reset as Ginday sought to destroy any trace of his spouse.
The killer later informed police that Ms Rani had assaulted him, taken £500 and walked out of their home.
But officers discovered her body, which had been burned beyond recognition, inside the 22in (56cm) deep incinerator after confronting Ginday about what he had been burning.
Police also discovered a fire-damaged mattress in parkland behind the couple's home, as well as jewellery and paperwork relating to their marriage.
In a statement released by West Midlands Police, Ms Rani's cousin, Sunil Kumar, said: "No words can truly express the sadness and hurt my family and I are experiencing at the loss of Varkha.
"She was loved dearly by all, she had a great passion for life and doted on her family.
"Unfortunately she fell prey to Ginday, who had ulterior motives which Varkha would not have appreciated."
Speaking after the case, Detective Chief Inspector Sarbjit Johal, the senior investigating officer, said: "How Varkha met her death still remains a mystery.
"Her body was badly damaged but it was clear to the pathologist that she was dead when she was put into the incinerator.
"Ginday got married as a matter of convenience - he tricked a poor innocent girl into marriage but was living a lie.
"I hope that this verdict brings some comfort to Varkha's family who have travelled from India to see justice is brought for their daughter."