Murder trial: Man who denies killing his ex-wife in a brutal attack at her Leamington home tells a jury that 'they still loved each-other'
He and his son have both pleaded not guilty to the murder of Balvinder ‘Bally’ Gahir - the trial continues
A man who denies killing his ex-wife in a brutal attack at her Leamington home has told a jury they still loved each-other.
Jasbinder Singh Gahir said that in May last year he had stayed with his wife Balvinder ‘Bally’ Gahir at their former matrimonial home in Valley Road, Lillington, and there was ‘talk about remarriage.’
Jasbinder (58) and one of the couple’s sons Rohan Singh Gahir (23) both of Church View, Maidenhead, have pleaded not guilty to Bally’s murder in August last year.
Prosecutor Philip Bradley QC has told the Coventry Crown Court jury: “On the evening of Sunday the 23rd of August Balvinder Gahir, known to her family and friends as Bally, went to bed.
“At 2.21 and 20 seconds the next morning CCTV captured a BMW parking within 100 metres of her home. That car was driven by her son Rohan Singh Gahir.
“Its front seat passenger was his father and Bally’s ex-husband Jasbinder Singh Gahir.”
Jasbinder left the car at just before 2.30 and returned eight minutes and 55 seconds later. “Where did he go, and what did he do for just short of nine minutes?” posed Mr Bradley.
“The prosecution case is that Jasbinder entered 278 Valley Road unannounced and walked upstairs to Bally’s bedroom.
“Once there he subjected her to a sustained and frenzied attack."
Mr Bradley alleged Jasbinder, described as ‘overbearing, manipulative and motivated,’ was directly responsible for killing Bally - and that Rohan, although he did not go into the house, was ‘no less guilty of her murder.’
Giving evidence, Jasbinder said he grew up in Birmingham where he gained his ‘wings’ in the ATC and had ambitions to become a commercial airline pilot – and he was ‘gutted’ when he had to give that up because of family pressure.
In reply to questions from his barrister Gurdeep Garcha QC, he said he moved into IT and accepted that he had never worked as a commercial airline pilot or worked for Monarch Airlines.
He and Bally had an arranged married at the Chesford Grange hotel in 1990, and he said although he was reluctant, he ‘obliged’ when her family asked him to wear his uniform, having been told by the fixer that he was a pilot.
Asked whether he was ever violent towards her, Jasbinder said: “I did use violence towards Bally during our marriage, but the violence was not just in one direction.”
In 2008 an extension was built at the Valley Road house, and he said Bally was ‘the financial controller’ and had suggested he use part of his life insurance and his savings to pay for it.
The following year the house was remortgaged, raising £200,000, and he used the money to buy a flat in Slough in his sole name, which he then rented out.
But he said that had been ‘an investment for the future of the three boys,’ and was rented out at Bally’s suggestion while he stayed elsewhere in the Slough area, where he was working.
Mr Garcha said it was suggested Bally had been duped into signing the remortgage papers, but Jasbinder responded: “I find that impossible to believe, she’s a qualified accountant.”
After the couple separated there was a High Court hearing in 2012 at which a judge ordered that Jasbinder was to transfer his interest in Valley Road to Bally and to pay her £30,000 – in default of which the Slough property would have to be sold.
And Jasbinder accepted that at the hearing he had lied and claimed to be a commercial pilot ‘to give me more credibility in front of the court.’
Asked why he did not comply with the court order, he said: “Because she didn’t enforce it.”
He said that after 2015 their relationship began to improve, adding: "We still loved one-another. There was no doubting that.”
In May last year, during the lockdown, Jasbinder stayed at the house in Valley Road, and Mr Garcha asked: “In the May before she died, she didn’t hate you, did you hate her?”
Jasbinder responded: “No, there was even talk about re-marriage. All options were considered. I was open to anything that would rebuild the family. It was definitely on the cards.”
He said Bally’s ‘buttons were being pushed’ by her family to enforce the court order, and he received letters about that in August, but commented: “I didn’t think she would enforce it.”
Asked if there was anything in the letters that made him want to harm Bally, he insisted: “No, I had no intention to harm Bally, and those letters didn’t provoke me in any way to do so.” The trial continues.