By S Neeraj Krishna
A UK COURT has sentenced to life a 23-year-old Leicester man for the “horrific” murder of his estranged partner.
Jigukumar Sorthi was sentenced to serve a minimum of 28 years’ imprisonment on Wednesday (16), after he was found guilty of stabbing Bhavini Pravin, 21, to death at her home in the city of Leicester in March.
Less than two hours after the incident, Sorthi, of East Park Road, approached an officer outside Spinney Hill police station and made admissions implicating himself in the fatal attack, said a Leicestershire Police spokesman.
According to the Leicester Mercury, Sorthi and Pravin had got engaged as per traditional customs in India in 2017. He moved to England on a spousal visa in August 2018, but the couple lived at separate addresses and the match did not seem to work out.
Pravin was to marry Sorthi in a religious Hindu wedding ceremony, but her family called it off a day before the murder.
When he gave himself up to the police, Sorthi had alleged that Pravin had “ruined his life”.
During a murder trial earlier this month, the jury heard how he had felt jilted as Pravin broke off the wedding plans.
At around 12.30pm on March 2, Sorthi went to Pravin’s home on Moores Road, and stabbed her multiple times.
Leicestershire Police and East Midlands Ambulance Service personnel were called to the address, where the victim was pronounced dead.
“This was a horrific, brutal and merciless killing. You took the life of a beautiful, talented young woman, just 21 years of age,” Justice Timothy Spencer told Sorthi during the sentencing hearing at Leicester Crown Court.
His lawyer told the court that his client had struggled to cope with life in the UK during the court proceedings, which were translated into Gujarati for his benefit.
Lucie Boulter, from the Crown Prosecution Service, said Pravin’s “life was cut short in a brutal, callous attack”.
“The defendant took a knife to her house and yet tried to claim he was not in control of his actions,” she said. “We prepared compelling evidence that showed the court that this was clearly planned and premeditated.”
Detective Inspector Kenny Henry, from the East Midlands Special Operations Unit, said: “Bhavini was a young woman who had the rest of her life to look forward to. She was a gentle caring soul and came from a close and very private family.
“It is fair to say she was the apple of her parents’ eyes.
“Losing Bhavini so early in life and in such tragic circumstances continues to take its toll on her parents and brothers – their lives have been changed forever.
“To have lost their beloved daughter to someone who they trusted to take care of her is something they will never recover from.
“Being present during the trial was understandably difficult for the family and I must commend their bravery, courage and dignity throughout.
“Nothing will bring Bhavini back but I can only hope that today’s outcome will, in due course, be of some comfort knowing that the man who ended their daughter’s life has been brought to justice.”
The victim’s father, Pravin Babu, said he “will always regret not being there to prevent what happened”.
“My wife will never forget our daughter’s final word to her as she took her last breath — ‘Mummy’,” he said, adding that her first word as a child was also “Mummy”.
“She was the ‘Laxmi’ (Goddess) of our family.
“She was a good daughter. She attended college and later worked alongside me supporting the family — keeping a roof over our heads and food on our table.
“Bhavini and I worked on the same production line for four years. We would come and go from work together. We would laugh and joke as she jogged along and I rode my bicycle.
“She would accompany my wife everywhere. People often commented that they looked like sisters. They would get ready together, share clothes and were each other’s best friend.
“Bhavini was a devout Hindu who took her faith very seriously. She led a peaceful, selfless life. She had a naturally loving, gentle and caring nature.
“She loved the many colourful Hindu festivals – she was always the life and soul of the party.”
Babu said the family had trusted Sorthi to “cherish, love and look after her forever”.
“We showed Jigu [Sorthi] nothing but love and acceptance,” he added. “We brought him to England to give him a better life. We supported him, housed him.
“And how did Jigu return our kindness – he repaid us by killing our beloved Bhavini.
“Our faith tells us that it is God’s wish that we are only put on earth to serve a purpose.
“Bhavini must have served her purpose. She brought us so much joy for the short time that we were blessed with having her in our lives but at 21 she was still finding her feet and making her way in life.
“Our lives have been shattered beyond repair. Only our faith and belief is keeping us going.”