Indian court to rule on Cordingley suspect

Amrit Dhillon |

The man accused of murdering 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley on a Queensland beach four years ago has told a Delhi magistrate in a written statement that he wants to return to Australia to fight the charges.

Rajwinder Singh, 38, told the magistrate he was aware he could face a life sentence if convicted by an Australian court.

The written statement is the latest step toward Singh’s extradition from India to Australia.

A few days ago, he swore in a “willingness statement” submitted to the court that he wished to waive his right to challenge extradition.

The decision pre-empts a legal battle that could have dragged on for years in India’s court system which is clogged with some 40 million cases.

The magistrate is expected to pass an order approving the extradition on Friday. 

The order and an “inquiry report” will then be sent to the Ministry of External Affairs to advise the extradition can proceed as it does not violate any aspect of India’s extradition law.

The Ministry will examine the inquiry report before it green-lights the process of sending Singh, who is in Tihar Jail, back to Australia.

“In the four years that he was on the run in India, he had no contact with his wife and children for fear of being caught,” public prosecutor Ajay Digpaul told AAP. 

“This seems to be the primary motive for wanting to return.”

Singh, an Australian citizen who was born in India, appeared relaxed in court on Tuesday. 

The prime suspect in the killing, he was arrested in December by Delhi police after a four-year manhunt that followed his escape from Australia just hours after Cordingley’s body was found half-buried in sand dunes on Wangetti Beach.

The extradition legal team says Singh could be back in Australia by the end of February.

The Indian government has already provisionally consented to Australia’s call for Singh’s extradition but the request needs to be signed off by the court.

Australian police want to question Singh over whether he stabbed Cordingley after an argument over her dog barking at him. 

Australian police said Cordingley, a pharmacy worker, suffered “visible, violent injuries”. 

Her dog was found tied up nearby.

Singh, who worked as a nurse and lived in Innisfail, has a wife and three children in Australia and has told his legal team in India that he had “gone to the beach for some quiet time carrying some fruit and a knife for cutting fruit”.