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Man strangled ex-wife with scarf and hid body in suitcase, jury told

Ashwin Daudia has pleaded not guilty to the Leicester murder of his former wife Kiran.

An “always happy” mother-of-two was strangled by her ex-husband with her own scarf and “trussed up in a suitcase”, a court has heard.

Kiran Daudia, 46, was discovered on January 17 last year close to some rubbish bins, a day after the incident allegedly took place.

The jury at Leicester Crown Court heard that her former husband, Ashwin Daudia, who still shared the same house, assaulted her and “quite deliberately” killed her between 2.20pm and 3.30pm.

Daudia, now 51, of Lyme Road, Leicester, denies murdering her and previously told police “I haven’t killed her”.

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Kiran Daudia (Leicestershire Police/PA)

The pair had been through an arranged marriage in India in 1988 but subsequently divorced in 2014 because their relationship “was not a happy one”.

The court heard that, despite the troubled relationship, they lived separate lives under the same roof, with their two sons choosing to “side” with their mother and having relatively little to do with their father.

Opening the case against Daudia, who followed proceedings through a Gujarati interpreter, prosecutor William Harbage QC said: “(Kiran Daudia’s) body was discovered trussed up in a suitcase on the day after she disappeared.

“The person who murdered her and then disposed of her body was her former husband, this defendant, Ashwin Daudia.

“There was an argument between the defendant and Kiran Daudia. There was a struggle in which he assaulted her. The defendant then, quite deliberately, killed his former wife by strangling her with some sort of ligature, probably her own scarf.”

Mr Harbage said Daudia then “crammed Kiran’s dead body” into a suitcase and wheeled it out into the yard where his son would not see it.

He continued: “Had this been some sort of domestic incident which had got out of hand and the defendant immediately regretted what had happened, one might have expected the defendant to have raised the alarm and called for an ambulance or the police.

“He did nothing of the sort – instead, showing remarkable coolness in the circumstances, he tried to cover up what he had done.”

Mr Harbage told the jury that Mrs Daudia had wanted her ex-husband out of the house for some time and was due to sell it to her sister on the day she was killed, which would have allowed her to stay as a resident and Daudia to move on.

He added: “After the divorce, Kiran joined a dating agency and had started to meet other men. That may also have been a source of tension or resentment for the defendant.”

Torn pieces of latex gloves were found in the suitcase containing Kiran’s body which had traces of DNA “to which the defendant and Kiran could have contributed the majority”, the jury was told

The jury heard how Daudia seemed “devoid of any emotion or concern about Kiran’s disappearance” when questioned by officers after she was reported missing.

Mr Harbage told the court the DNA evidence was consistent with the defendant “having worn latex gloves to handle the body”.

The jury were also told how Kiran had been found with a bin liner over her head, black plastic cable ties securing her hands behind her back and ankles behind her buttocks.

He said: “The prosecution say that when you put all the evidence together, including the CCTV evidence, DNA evidence, the plastic bag evidence, and the fingerprint evidence, you can be sure that the defendant’s claims of not having anything to do with, and not knowing anything about, Kiran’s death are a pack of lies.

“The only logical conclusion is that he lost his temper and attacked her, causing her bruising and abrasions, and then strangled her with ‘a ligature’ … until she was dead.

“What can be the intention when one person strangles another? The answer is obvious.”

Detailing the injuries Kiran suffered, Mr Harbage said she had bruises, grazes and a cut on her face, head, torso and limbs consistent with her being gripped by the arm and assaulted.

He said the pathologist had seen a “prominent ligature mark” and a fractured thyroid voice box.

Mr Harbage added: “Although the defendant has denied knowing anything about Kiran’s death, it may be that he will now accept that he was involved in her death but that he has some sort of defence.

“We anticipate that he may now claim that he panicked afterwards when he tried to cover it all up.

“He may accept, given the strength of the evidence, that it was indeed him who wheeled the suitcase away and disposed of cleaning materials, her phone, some of her clothes, and her body.”

The trial, expected to last three weeks, continues.

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