British Sikh woman jailed for daughter-in-law’s ‘honour killing’ freed
An 86-year-old British Sikh woman, who killed her daughter-in-law in 1998 for “bringing shame to the family”, has been released after spending less than 15 years in prison, media reports said.
London: An 86-year-old British Sikh woman, who killed her daughter-in-law in 1998 for “bringing shame to the family”, has been released after spending less than 15 years in prison, media reports said.
Bachan Kaur Athwal, from Hayes, West London, was jailed in 2007 for 20 years for ordering the murder of 27-year-old Surjit Athwal after learning that she had an affair and wished to divorce her son, Sukhdave.
The Parole Board granted Bachan early release citing poor health and dementia despite Justice Secretary Dominic Raab’s efforts to keep her behind bars, the Daily Mirror reported.
She was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison by Judge Giles Forrester.
In his appeal, which was knocked back, Raab claimed that Bachan still posed a risk to society.
According to The Sun, Bachan was released from prison in August last year.
It is claimed that in May last year, Bachan slapped her daughter during a prison visit and assaulted a member of staff.
Medical assessments suggested Bachan “would be difficult to manage in exactly the same way as any other person suffering from dementia and no more”, the Daily Mirror reported.
Surjit’s body was never found, and she left behind two young children.
The Old Bailey heard how Surjit was forced to marry Sukhdave at 16, and was bullied by the family.
After discovering that Surjit planned to leave her son, Bachan had vowed that a divorce would happen “over my dead body” because she believed it would disgrace their family, London’s Old Bailey court had heard.
Surjit, a customs officer, was then lured to Punjab by Bachan and Sukhdave on the pretext of attending family weddings, but was instead strangled to death.
Sukhdave was also found guilty of murder and was sentenced to at least 27 years in prison.
Judge Forrester said the murder was “unspeakable”.
“This was a heinous crime characterized by great wickedness,” he said.