Family distressed by Indian woman's murder in Australia

Sydney, April 29 (IANS) 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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