Wife Set Herself On Fire For Attention, Husband's Lawyer Claims
A Sydney woman allegedly murdered by her husband set herself on fire in a desperate bid for attention, his lawyer has told a jury.
"It was not suicide, she did not mean to die," said Margaret Cunneen SC in opening the defence case in the NSW Supreme Court on Wednesday.
Kulwinder Singh, 41, has pleaded not guilty to murdering his wife Parwinder Kaur, 32, in December 2013.
She sustained burns to 90 per cent of her body in the petrol-fuelled blaze at their Rouse Hill home.
The Crown alleges Singh was responsible for her death but he told police "she did it to herself" while he was upstairs getting clothes to take to his mother's.
"Had the physical evidence all pointed to Kulwinder Singh as being the person who applied the petrol to Parwinder, had it been his fingerprints on the petrol tin, this case would have been very short," Ms Cunneen said.
"There is no such evidence. The physical evidence all points in one direction."
Ms Kaur rang triple zero, saying "my husband nearly killed me" shortly before a neighbour saw her in the driveway completely on fire.
Seconds earlier, she ended a phone call to her brother in which she said nothing about any violence or attempt to kill her.
"She was on her own when she made those calls, there is no doubt about it."
Ms Cunneen said Ms Kaur had time to apply petrol and put the tin back neatly in the laundry cupboard.
Her client articulated what was different about this day when he said: "I was about to go."
Ms Kaur was now under pressure, her husband was going and "she might lose her house, she might lose her whole foundation", Ms Cunneen said.
The jurors might think Ms Kaur was a strong, determined woman who could not physically stop him.
"There's no sign of any fight between these people," she said.
"This is a very quiet couple. So what can she do? She can create a fuss."
Feeling desperate and not meaning to die, she meant to get attention to stop what was happening, Ms Cunneen said.
James Munday, a forensic scientist specialising in fires and explosions, told the jury he examined microscopically the trousers, shirt and sandals Singh wore at the time of the fire.
"In my opinion, he was not in close proximity at the time of ignition," he said.
The trial continues before Justice Natalie Adams.