Sunday, June 2, 2002


Personal Details
Status: Murdered
Body Missing
Sex: Female
Year of Birth: 1966
At Time of Disappearance on 2 June 2002
Age: 35
Height (cm): 170.0
Build: Medium
Hair Colour: Brown
Eye Colour: Brown
Complexion: Dark Brown
Nationality: Fijian Racial Appearance: Indian
Circumstances Aruna was last seen in Port Kembla.

Fijian man convicted of wife's murder By Amy Coopes
November 14, 2007

A Fiji-born man who fled to the Solomon Islands on a one-way ticket just days after the disappearance of his de facto wife in NSW has been convicted of her murder.

Aruna Verma vanished from her Port Kembla home while her four children and their nanny attended church on the morning of June 2, 2002.

Her bank accounts and mobile phone have not been touched since, and immigration records show no sign of her leaving the country.

Ms Verma's de facto husband Kaniappa Raju, 45, was convicted of her murder by a NSW Supreme Court jury on Wednesday.

The panel of 12 took just five hours to reach its verdict, following a trial of three weeks.

It was the third trial for Raju, with the first aborted and a hung jury at the second.

Ms Verma's relationship with Raju had been strained in the month leading up to her disappearance, the jury was told.

Raju suspected his wife was having an affair with his cousin Chinna Gounder, whom he dobbed in for working in breach of his visa.

Mr Gounder was detained in Villawood and eventually deported, and Raju threatened his wife the same fate awaited her.

The couple fought bitterly, with Raju becoming so aggressive Ms Verna took out a restraining order and made plans to leave with her four daughters.

On the morning of her disappearance, someone called the last numbers dialled on Ms Verna's phone, including the refuge where she was intending to flee the following day, said prosecutor Merv Grogan.

Within four hours of discovering his wife was missing, Mr Grogan said, Raju packed up his daughters and drove through the night to his lover's home in Queensland.

He left the girls there, then bought a one-way ticket to the Solomon Islands, where he remained until being extradited to face the murder charge in 2005.

"That is indicative of somebody acting in a way that shows their guilt," Mr Grogan told the court.

Raju wept as he took the stand in his own defence, claiming he drove around for hours searching for his wife.

His lawyer, Nathan Watts, told the jury it was impossible, within the narrow timeframe, for Raju to have killed his wife and disposed of her body.

Justice Virginia Bell remanded Raju in custody for sentencing submissions on December 6.

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