Australian faces life sentence for killing, raping Indian student

Last Updated: Mon, Apr 29, 2013 15:54 hrs

Melbourne: Australian prosecutors today demanded life sentence for a 21-year-old man, who has pleaded guilty of raping and killing Indian student Tosha Thakkar in 2011 before stuffing her in a suitcase and dumping it in a canal.

The Sydney based Supreme Court today heard that accused, Daniel Stani-Reginald, who lived next door had been planning his "cold and calculated" crime well before he raped the 24-year-old Thakkar.

Daniel then stuffed Thakkar's body in a suitcase, dumped it in a canal and went home to read an article called Beginnings of a Serial Killer, it was told.

Crown prosecutor Mark Tedeschi has urged Justice Derek Price to impose a life sentence on Daniel, saying he was capable of seeking notoriety as a serial killer, the AAP news agency reported.

He said while other young men his age were going to college or learning a trade, Daniel "made a deliberate decision to school himself on how to become a serial rapist and murderer".

"In the three months before he raped and strangled Thakkar in the Croydon unit where she lived next door to him, he had viewed about 9,500 disturbing internet articles and websites on serial killers and notorious rapists", the report said adding the accused also looked up articles on infamous Australian cases like that of Dean Shillingsworth, the murdered toddler whose body was dumped in a suitcase.

He read judgments on the sentences of notorious killers and viewed pornography relating to the "degradation of Indian women" on the morning he murdered Thakkar, the court heard.

Family distressed by Indian woman's murder in Australia

The family of an Indian woman, who was raped and murdered here two years ago, told a Sydney court Monday of the immense pain and suffering they have been going through all this time.

The parents and brother of Tosha Thakkar, 24, described her as a "sweet little fairy" who was doing well in Australia, the Sydney Morning Herald reported.

Thakkar, a university student in Sydney studying accounting, was raped and murdered in a flat at Croydon here March 9, 2011, by her roommate Daniel Stani-Reginald, an Australian of Sri Lankan origin.

Stani-Reginald then put her body in a suitcase and threw it in a canal at a park in Meadowbank. He was arrested two days later when some construction workers found the suitcase.

He later pleaded guilty for the murder.

Thakkar's parents, Varsaben and Sunil, and younger brother Dishant, who have come down from India for the sentencing hearing of Stani-Reginald, told the court her death had affected them mentally and economically.

"This man has not only taken away (our) daughter, he has also killed our life and all our happiness and our health," a Hindi interpreter was quoted as reading out in a victim impact statement.

"She used to take care of everyone with great love and care. She wanted to help a lot of people."

Her brother Dishant told the court that he still found it difficult to accept that his sister was gone.

The court was told Monday that Stani-Reginald's father had murdered his mother and that left him with extreme trauma and an obsession for violent and sexual crime.

Though one psychiatrist, who had assessed Stani-Reginald in 2008 after he was charged with arson and damage to property, told the court that the accused suffered from post-traumatic stress disorder, others disagreed.

According to another psychiatrist, Yvonne Skinner, assessments done after the murder, when Stani-Reginald was 19, showed no evidence of a mental disorder requiring involuntary treatment.

"It is my opinion that it (the murder) is planned rather than opportunistic," she was quoted as telling the court.

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