Sydney(TSMH): A year after Prabha Kumar was stabbed to death in a Sydney park, detectives are investigating if someone from her native India played a role in organising her murder.
Police have several persons of interest in their sights over the killing of the mother of one as they attempt to piece together who stabbed the IT worker after she got off the train at Parramatta on March 7 last year.
One of those lines of inquiry is that someone known to Mrs Kumar, and living in India, was involved in her death.
The Indian national had finished a shift at IT firm MindTree on the night of March 7 last year before she got off a train at Parramatta station and began walking to her Westmead home.
For the past 12 months, homicide detectives have carried out a painstaking and complex investigation spanning two countries in a bid to find those responsible for the murder.
“We have considered the possibility that an offender had [helped commit or been involved with] this crime outside of Australia,” Detective Sergeant Ritchie Sim told Fairfax Media.
While detectives weigh up the theory someone in a country 10,000 kilometres away had a hand in her death, they are confident Mrs Kumar did not know the person who actually ended her life.
“There is no information that we are aware of that indicates she knew who the attacker was,” Sergeant Sim said.
“We are considering the possibility that the offender is still in Australia as well as the possibility the offender has left Australia.”
Mrs Kumar’s family, including her mother, father, husband and daughter, travelled to Sydney last November for a service in Mrs Kumar’s honour.
As well as unveiling a memorial plaque in Parramatta Park, the relatives were interviewed extensively to help police add to the “victimology”.
This has proved crucial for detectives trying to piece together who Mrs Kumar was and any conflicts she may have had in her life.
There are aspects of Mrs Kumar’s life that need to be explored further, detectives say.
Sergeant Sim said it was essential police explored and assessed each person of interest.
“Where possible we are either including or excluding them from the investigation,” he said.
As the one year anniversary of Mrs Kumar’s death approaches, it can be revealed police have spoken with more than 2000 people and collected almost 250 statements as part of the investigation.
Every resident in the Parramatta Park area who was home that night has been spoken to and the area has been canvassed as many as four times.
However, a murder weapon has never been found.
The crucial missing minutes between when Mrs Kumar turned onto Jubilee Lane and headed towards her Amos St home – an area not covered by CCTV – poses a challenge.
The one helpful piece of CCTV footage, which captures an unidentified figure walking through the Parramatta Golf Course on the night of March 7 is grainy and dark.
While investigators concede the footage is poor quality, they hope it might remind the person captured in the clip they were in the area that night.
Mrs Kumar had lived at her Westmead home with a friend for about six months prior to her death.
Her roommate, who asked not to be named, said Mrs Kumar worked up to 14 hour days and would always take the train from Rhodes to Parramatta then walk home.
“She didn’t mention anything particular [about feeling unsafe],” she said.
“That was her usual route.”
The roommate said she got a call from Mr Kumar asking her to go down to the park as Mrs Kumar had been stabbed.
“Everyone is shocked because they knew she is a very quiet and sweet girl,” she said.
She said Mrs Kumar, who had lived in Australia for more than two years, was working hard to save enough money to buy property for her daughter back in India.
Months before her death she travelled back to India to see Mr Kumar, who was on the phone to his wife as she was attacked.
After hearing he wife’s screams, Mr Kumar jumped on a plane bound for Australia almost immediately.
Mr Kumar later told police he only learned of his wife’s death when he arrived in Sydney.
He described feeling helpless as it was like someone had attacked his wife in front of him.
“I tried all numbers … when you call someone, they are not picking up the call and it is going to voicemail, and I was so helpless,” he said.
“I was so shocked and I called my sister and said ‘this is happening’ and they [family] came.
“They told me like `she is OK, she is fine, she is in the hospital’.
“So I was having that hope she was fine. When I came there, I came to know … it was shocking … she was no more.”
Mrs Kumar wanted to stay in Australia and was making plans for her husband and daughter to join her.
“Her daughter is her world for her,” Mr Kumar said.
“Now we are so hopeless. Sometimes I don’t want to believe she is not there.”
Detectives have ruled out sexual assault and robbery are motives in the murder.
They remain in close contact with authorities in India, where Mr Kumar and the rest of Mrs Kumar’s family live.
“Because Prabha was an Indian National, the geographical distance between our two countries is an obstacle,” Sergeant Sim said.
“However, that’s all it is, an obstacle.
“We are, and will continue to work closely with our colleagues in India to achieve the common goal of finding the person or people responsible for this crime.”
Anyone with information in either Australia or India is urged to contact police.