London – A wealthy banker killed his wife with more than 120 blows from an axe and knife after she asked for a divorce, a jury heard on Wednesday.
Sanjay Nijhawan, 46, then allegedly sat down next to 38-year-old Sonita’s body and started stabbing his own legs.
Relatives discovered the bloodbath and called police.
Sally O’Neill, prosecuting, told the jury that Nijhawan had resigned as a banker for Barclays Capital Wealth because of stress. The couple faced a £670,000 mortgage on their gated mansion in Surrey’s stockbroker belt.
She said: ‘It seems that in the months leading up to this event Sanjay Nijhawan began to suffer from stress and anxiety partly as a result of his job and he was finding it very difficult to cope. He also felt under financial pressure because of the move to the house although it is not clear exactly why this was as both of the family were wealthy.’
Mrs Nijhawan was found dead on the marble floor of her luxury kitchen on May 21.
‘She was the victim of a fatal and sustained attack,’ O’Neill told the jury at Guildford Crown Court.
‘She had a very large number of cut and stab injuries to her neck and head. Underneath her body was an axe. Nijhawan was sitting on the kitchen floor next to her body repeatedly stabbing himself to the legs with a small knife.’
She said there were 124 injuries to Mrs Nijhawan’s body, neck and head. A post-mortem examination revealed that the blows from the axe were carried out with ‘severe’ force.
Bruises on the victim’s arms and an axe cut exposing her knuckle showed she tried to defend herself as her attacker swung at her head.
The prosecutor said Nijhawan had searched Google on how to commit suicide and to identify the ‘soft parts of a female human skull’ in the hours before the breakfast-time attack.
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O’Neill said he had taken away his wife’s cellphone, despite the fact she was on call 24 hours a day as a director of two care homes run by her family.
He apparently did not want her to reveal their divorce discussions to their families.
The jury was told that relatives rushed to the Weybridge mansion following bizarre phone calls and text messages from Nijhawan.
Chander Parkesh, Sonita’s father, arrived with another of his daughters who screamed when she saw the carnage. ‘It was obvious she was dead,’ said O’Neill. ‘There was blood everywhere.’
Nijhawan was airlifted to hospital before he was arrested. He told officers he had argued with his wife who wanted to divorce him because of his mental problems.
The court also heard that police seized a note from him that he wrote in hospital stating: ‘I would like to issue a statement immediately offering my severe remorse. The mindless act has lost the life of a beautiful and amazing woman. I have failed in my duty as a son-in-law and a brother.’
O’Neill said the defence case was expected to argue that he had an abnormality of mental function that substantially impaired his ability to form a rational judgement or exercise self-control.
Nijhawan denies murder. The trial continues.