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Murder accused: ‘It’s my bad luck that I was on that road’

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The man accused of murdering Arishma Chand was driving on her street at about the time she was killed, the jury has been told.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland.

Rohit Deepak Singh standing alongside an interpreter at the High Court in Auckland.
Photo: RNZ / Anneke Smith

Ms Chand, who had a three-year-old daughter, was found stabbed to death in her Manurewa home in the early hours of 12 November last year.

Rohit Deepak Singh, 42, was charged with her murder three days later and is now standing trial in the High Court at Auckland.

Mr Singh, who had a brief sexual relationship with Ms Chand in 2016, volunteered to speak with the police the day after her death.

In a DVD recording played to the jury this week, he told Sergeant Andrew Bell and Detective David Taylor he was driving down Ms Chand’s street at about the time she was killed.

The following is an exchange between Mr Singh and the police officers at the Manukau police station.

Detective Taylor: “Arishma was murdered last night. She’s dead.”

Sergeant Bell: “You’ve not once asked us how. Why’s that?”

Mr Singh: “Because my thinking is everything is going. . . like. . . she used to share with me right from. . . like her father’s side. She was telling me. . . and the mother actually. . . can I. . . can. . . can.”

Detective Taylor: “Rohit, she was murdered last night.”

Mr Singh: “Mm hmm. Can I? Can I. . . can I show you?”

Detective Taylor: “You told us that you haven’t been in communication with her since January. I look at your phone and there’s messages saying ‘I love you’ and ‘I miss you’. She was murdered last night. She lives on Maich Rd in Manurewa. She was murdered around 1am. By your own admissions you were on Maich Rd around 1am this morning.”

Mr Singh: “This morning?”

Detective Taylor “Yes. We went through your timeline. You put yourself in the place she was murdered at the same time.”

Mr Singh: “So you mean I have done it?”

Sergeant Bell: “Explain to us you were there in the area around the time that she is.”

Mr Singh: “It’s not me.”

He went on to tell the police officers it was his “bad luck” he was on the same road around the time Ms Chand was killed.

“It’s my bad luck that I was on that road. She should have called me.”

Sergeant Bell asked Mr Singh to explain the “incredible coincidence”.

“Yeah I know. It is not me. That’s it. It’s not me.”

Police officers also asked him about a 111 call he made around 2am in which he reported being burgled on the North Shore.

In the recording, he told the operator three women had waved him down with a flat tyre attacking him and scratching his face.

He said they stole his watch and attempted to take his phone from his pocket before fleeing the scene in a black car.

Detective Taylor put to Mr Singh that he was not scratched in a burglary, but by Ms Chand as he was murdering her.

He denied this and said the injuries were caused by the women who attacked him.

At the start of the trial Crown prosecutor Claire Robertson told the jury Mr Singh’s DNA was found under Ms Chand’s fingernails in the post-mortem.

The Crown’s case has been that Mr Singh was a jealous ex-boyfriend who plotted to kill her more than a year after their brief relationship ended.

The court heard he stalked her after the break up, messaging her almost-daily, watching her house and even getting a picture of her tattooed to his chest.

In her opening address, Mr Singh’s defence lawyer Belinda Sellars told the jury her client was an easy target for police and was not responsible for Ms Chand’s death.

The defence will open its case at the start of next week.

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