Gurpreet Singh, aged 43, with an accomplice threw chilli powder in 38 year old Sarbjit Kaur’s face to incapacitate her before killing her and calmly leaving their detached home, in Rookery Road, Penn, Wolverhampton, on February 16 last year, it was said.
It was in 2013 that Singh solicited help to kill his first wife Amandeep Kaur at the same address but his potential accomplice ‘bottled out’ and fled the country, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
She died a year later of a brain haemorrhage.
Sarbjit’s body was found by police on the floor of her sewing work room, a converted garage at the front of the house, after Singh returned home later that day having phoned 999 and reported a break-in.
She had been dead for some time.
Her husband was interviewed as a potential witness and gave what police thought was a plausible explanation, with all his alibis and movements that day checking out.
But a neighbour’s CCTV showed that Singh had been lying, said Mr David Mason, QC, prosecuting.
He had told officers that he and his wife had been alone in the house for almost an hour after he returned from taking the children to school and before he left for work. He had kissed her goodbye before driving off in his Jaguar, the court heard.
But the CCTV showed someone letting a hooded visitor in through his wife’s work room at 8.15am. The hooded figure was then seen leaving the house four minutes after Singh departed for work just after 9am.
It was a ‘piece of genuine good fortune’ given that the Singh’s own CCTV was not working at the time, and ‘potentially devastating evidence’, said Mr Mason.
When Singh, who ran a concreting firm with his brother, was told by police his wife was dead, he seemed distraught, the jury was told.
But police noted that many high-value items like jewellery and mobile phones were not taken in the alleged break-in and the children’s bedroom had not been touched.
Mr Mason said: “We say that after Mr Singh had got back from the school run, he had already planned to kill Sarjbit.
He had obviously recruited someone else to help him, whether it was a colleague, hired help, mistress, perhaps we will never know.
“But that person knew when to go to the house, knew that he or she would be let in by the defendant and, when in the premises, helped to murder Sarbjit and make it look like a burglary that had gone dreadfully wrong.
“That was the plan and it was a plan that might have worked if the neighbours hadn’t been worried about their cars and installed that CCTV.”
He went on to tell the jury that Gurpreet Singh ‘has a habit of not getting on with his wives’.
Before his first wife died, Singh offered another man £20,000 to kill her, the jury heard. But instead Heera Uppal took £2,000 he was paid upfront and fled to India.
He is due to give evidence to the trial saying that Singh planned to kill his wife as he wanted to marry someone else, a student from India.
As part of the plan, Uppal was to pretend to be a postman and stab Amandeep Kaur in the neck when she answered the door. He was then to steal items and ‘make it look a mess’.
Some of the detail is ‘startlingly similar to what happened to Sarbjit’, said Mr Mason. The court heard that Mr Uppal had recently been offered money not to appear at the trial.
Singh, of Coalway Avenue, Penn, pleads not guilty to the murder of his second wife and soliciting the murder between July 11 and December 2, 2013, of his first wife, the mother of his two children.
The trial, expected to last up to six weeks, continues.