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Life sentence for Leicester 'Honour' Murder

|News, Violent crime

A 'rejected' husband has been sentenced to life in prison for murdering, out of revenge, a Leicester woman who refused to go ahead with their planned wedding.

Jigukumar Sorthi stabbed Bhavini Pravin to death a day after he was informed their marriage was off. The couple had been through a civil ceremony, but would not have been considered married until the religious ceremony. In the time between the two ceremonies, Ms Pravin expressed concern about Sorthi’s drinking and both families agreed to stop the marriage.

Sorthi was informed of the outcome, relayed to him via his family, on the evening of 1 March. The next morning, he went to her home, claiming he wanted to discuss the reasons for the separation. He waited until there was only the victim and her mother in the house, then stabbed Ms Pravin four times, before fleeing the house.

Two hours later, Sorthi went to Spinney Hill police station, where he told police officers what had happened, claiming his actions were not his fault. He was charged with murder and tried at Leicester Crown Court. He admitted to stabbing Ms Pravin, but claimed he was not in control of his actions at the time. He was found guilty on Friday 11 September 2020. He was today sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 28 years.

Lucie Boulter from the CPS said: “Bhavini Pravin’s life was cut short in a brutal, callous attack in her own home. The defendant took a knife to her house and yet tried to claim he was not in control of his actions. We prepared compelling evidence that showed the court that this was clearly planned and premediated. That morning he got up and knew exactly what he was going to do.

 “Today’s significant sentence reflects Sorthi’s intent, planning and the subsequent lack of remorse for his unacceptable violence towards an innocent young woman and her family.

“I cannot begin to express how sorry I feel for Bhavini’s family. Her death is beyond tragic and they have had to deal with the additional trauma of the stabbing being witnessed by her mother. They have endured the distressing evidence of the events of 2 March with dignity and courage.”

Building the case

For a defendant to be guilty of murder, the prosecution must prove that they have acted with intent to kill or at least cause very serious harm. The Prosecution’s case was that Jigukumar Sorthi’s intent to kill was driven by revenge for the relationship ending, because he perceived that his family had been dishonoured.

Jigukumar Sorthi admitted that he had been to Bhavini Pravin’s home and had stabbed her to death. His defence was that he had lost control of his actions, so could not be accountable. The CPS prepared evidence that showed that not only was he in full control, but that he planned his actions and intended to kill Ms Pravin.

The prosecution showed CCTV of his movements that morning, showing him eat food from a takeaway and spend time in a park. He was not seen on that footage to be agitated or upset.

Sorthi’s defence was that he had gone to Ms Pravin’s home to ask why the wedding had been called off, but then lost control of his actions. The CPS instructed psychological experts to assess whether this could have been the case. Their evidence was clear - that he was not acting unwillingly in the temporary grip of extreme distress brought about by the change in his circumstances. He had not lost control temporarily, nor was he suffering with a mental health condition that diminished his responsibility.

The prosecution’s case was that he had gone to the house when he knew Ms Pravin’s father would be at work and that he waited until her brother had gone out of the house and her mother had gone into another room before attacking. The careful timing of his visit and the fact that he took the knife with him were, according to the prosecution evidence that he had gone there with the intent to kill or cause serious harm, and had waited until the victim was at her most vulnerable before stabbing her.

Jigukumar Sorthi also pleaded guilty to having an article with a blade or point. He was sentenced to six months' imprisonment, to serve concurrently with his life sentence.

Notes to editors

  • Lucie Boulter is a Senior Crown Prosecutor at CPS East Midlands

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