An Australian Indian has been charged for the murder of his wife and step daughter in Sydney. The bodies of the victims, Jyoti Mehta (38) and Ujalla (9) were found in Blue Mountains, a popular tourist destination near Sydney.
Sanjay Mehta (41), charged for the double murder, was employed as an engineer in Australia.
AdvertisementNeighbours said they had seen Jyoti Mehta playing with her daughter and she had been cheerful and polite.
But those who lived near their Blacktown home, in western Sydney, knew there were problems in her new relationship with the Australia-based husband, Sanjay Mehta, she had met a year ago on the internet.
Arguments had been heard inside the unremarkable brick home and then suddenly, on May 5, she vanished.
He apparently killed the two in their home, then placed the two bodies in a vehicle and took two other family members for a drive to Echo Point lookout at Katoomba, a popular tourist spot in the Blue Mountains about an hour's drive from Sydney, the police document states.
While the two family members went for a walk, Mehta threw the bodies off the cliff, which landed 150 metres down on the canyon floor. He then drove home, the police allege.
Mehta was arrested Sunday night at 10.15 p.m. from the family house in Dunn Way Blacktown after a walker sighted a female's body at the bottom of Echo Point lookout at about 2 p.m. Sunday and informed the police.
About 6 p.m. Sunday, police from the Blue Mountains Local Area Command and the Rescue Squad located the body of a second female, a short distance from the first body.
Due to deteriorating weather and light conditions, the Blue Mountains crime scene was secured overnight and the bodies were retrieved Monday morning. Blacktown crime manager Gary Hutchen said the bodies were in "a state of decomposition when found".
He had reported the mother and daughter missing at 1.30 a.m. on May 6, telling police he had not seen his wife, who was on a temporary bridging visa, and her daughter since they left the family home at Blacktown about 8pm on May 5 with their passports and $100.
The police fact sheet said mobile phone records placed Mehta in the Blue Mountains the day after his wife disappeared. This allegedly contradicted a version of events he gave stating he was in Blacktown.
Court documents said Jyothi had contacted the Jessie Street Domestic Violence Service in January after being verbally abused by her husband, who threatened to kill her or have her deported. The couple had formed a friendship on the internet in July 2006, when she was living in India. She moved to Australia in May last year, marrying Sanjay Mehta later that month, reports Angus Hohenboken in Australian.
He told police in an interview he was loving towards his wife, but believed she might have been having an affair behind his back and showed no emotion to him.
Jyothi's sister Poonam Sharma -- who in the days after the disappearance made an emotional public appeal for information -- told police her sister had threatened to leave by October if her husband did not help her get permanent residency.
Ms Sharma said the couple argued about the issue before she was reported missing.
Mehta's former wife, who had returned to India after their marriage broke down, is said to have returned to the family home in Blacktown May 26. A neighbour told the local media that Mehta had a son and a daughter from the previous marriage living with him as well.
Police facts before the court Monday indicated the man asked his 14-year-old son to tell the police that he had searched the neighbourhood for his wife and stepdaughter for two hours that night. His son later allegedly told the police that he had misled them.
The police say they have an "extremely strong" prosecution case against Mehta, who has denied his involvement in the killings.
Sanjay Mehta did not appear in Blacktown Local Court yesterday, and did not apply for bail, which was formally refused by magistrate Michael Dakin. He is due to appear at the court on July 21.
Speaking to Times Now television channel, Jyoti's father, Bharat Sharma, living in Gujarat, said that he had been largely unaware of the marital problems Jyoti was experiencing and added " I appeal to the Australian Government to prosecute her killer."