B.C. Supreme Court Justice Allison Beames on Thursday ruled that former Surrey real estate agent Tejwant Danjou, 71, had the intent to be convicted of murder in the death of his common-law spouse Rama Gauravarapu, who was a financial planner at a Surrey Royal Bank branch, on July 22, 2018.
Beames said: “The evidence supports the conclusion that Mr. Danjou’s actions – before, during and after the offence – were purposeful and goal-directed.”Danjou, who was charged with second-degree murder, had caught everyone by surprise when he insisted in court at the start of his five-week trial last February that he was guilty. But the very next day his lawyer instructed the judge that her client wanted to withdraw his guilty plea. The court allowed Danjou to do so.
During closing arguments last month, the Crown said Danjou was an abusive and violent man, while the defence asked for a manslaughter conviction, describing Danjou as suffering from delusions about his partner’s fidelity.
Beames said the only thing for her to decide in the trial by judge alone was whether he was guilty of manslaughter or second-degree murder, the difference being “intent.”
The judge noted the cause of Gauravarapu’s death was listed as blunt force trauma, but she had 52 areas of injury. She suffered injuries to her face, had defensive wounds on her arms and hands, and had a 20-centimetre cut to her neck, CBC reported.
On the day of the murder, the couple spent hours at a winery, which ended in arguments and Danjou getting a separate room at the hotel.
The judge said: “There is abundant evidence that shows Mr. Danjou acted with purpose and foresight.” She noted that Danjou also showed intent after he fled the hotel room and travelled a considerable distance on foot before hiding in a dumpster, where he was caught, CBC reported.
Although the defence said he was intoxicated, Beames said: “I am satisfied Mr. Danjou was not intoxicated or impaired to the degree that it affected his ability to understand and foresee the consequences of his assault.”
Danjou, who was convicted of second-degree murder, will face a life sentence. A sentencing hearing has been set for September 14.