Sarbjit Kaur, aged 38, confided in Lakhwinder Kaur, a priest at a city centre temple, whom she employed as an assistant in her home-based sewing business.
The two women had met on just four occasions at the Singhs’ detached home in Rookery Lane, Penn, Wolverhampton, including the day before Sarbjit’s murder, when she had seemed no different to any other day, said her friend.
But her mood was slightly low because she and husband Gurpreet Singh could not take their children on an imminent trip to India with them as the youngsters’ school had declined permission for them to be absent during term term.
Later that day Mrs Kaur asked Lakhwinder if she would be prepared to look after the children, a girl aged 11, and a 10-year-old boy, both from Singh’s first marriage, while they were away.
Arrangements were made for Mrs Kaur to pick up Lakhwinder the following morning at 9am from the Sikh Gurdwara, in Newhampton Road, to help her stitch some wedding garments but she never arrived, Birmingham Crown Court heard.
The prosecution say this was because she had been murdered some time in the preceding 45 minutes, by her husband, the boss of a building firm, who is also on trial for offering £20,000 to an employee to kill his first wife, Amandeep Kaur, because he wanted to marry someone else.
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Lakhwinder Kaur had been asleep at 7.54am on February 16 last year when her friend rang.
When she returned the call at 9.16am to find out why she was late there was no reply.
She called 15 times until mid-afternoon but failed to get an answer.
The day before she had spent almost seven hours with Sarbjit, whom she described as a “very nice” woman, also helping to cook the family meal and clean the house, the jury heard.
In cross-examination, Mr Orlando Pownall, QC, asked her: “She told you that she was happy with her husband and went on to say that ‘he loves me very much’?”
Lakhwinder Kaur replied: “Yes.”
The victim’s body was discovered after Singh and the children arrived home just after 4pm.
The house had apparently been ransacked but many items of high value had not been taken.
The prosecution say Singh and a mystery accomplice murdered Sarbjit and roughed up the house to make it look like a “botched burglary”.
It was heard earlier this week in court how a mystery accomplice was alleged to have helped the wealthy businessman to murder his wife.
A slight figure in a parka jacket was seen on CCTV footage approaching and leaving the property at the time 38-year-old Sarbjit Kaur is said to have been strangled but has never been traced, a jury heard.
Detective Constable Spencer Jenkins, who specialises in analysing CCTV footage, said he believed the alleged unknown accomplice was female because of the person’s slight build and appearance and the way they walked. He or she was tracked as far as Goldthorn Road before disappearing from the force’s radar.
Singh of Coalway Road, Penn, pleads not guilty to murdering Sarbjit Kaur and soliciting the murder between July and December 2013 of his first wife, Amandeep Kaur.
The trial continues.