Teenage girl has throat slit in Leicester street by man she refused to marry
An artist's impression of the seven defendants
A teenage girl who eloped with her lover, to escape an arranged marriage, had her throat slit in the street by the man she was supposed to marry.
A jury was told jilted Bharat Soma also stabbed her partner in the neck and slashed his cheek, in East Park Road, Spinney Hill, Leicester, in front of horrified shoppers.
Soma, who denies attempting to murder the pair, shouted “My wife, my wife,” as he allegedly carried out the cold-blooded attack - which included knifing a 15-year-old boy accompanying the young couple, on January 19.
Police body-cam footage was shown at Leicester Crown Court of the two victims Darshana Narotam, 17, and her boyfriend, Prashant Govinde, 22, in pools of blood, slumped side by side on the pavement, as officers fought to save their lives by stemming the bleeding with bandages.
Darshana allegedly pointed out Soma, who had been detained nearby.
An officer asked: “Who’s done this to you?”
Darshana replies: “Him, him.”
Officer: “Is it the chap in the (police) car?”
Speaking with difficulty she whispered: “Yeah, I took a knife from him.
“My mum and dad trying to force me to marry with that guy, but I haven’t married with him.”
An officer asked: “So a forced marriage with that guy that’s attacked you?”
“Yeah,” she replied.
An emotional exchange between the injured couple was when Darshana, who believed she was dying, told Prashant: “Love, you won’t save me now.”
Distressed, Prashant wailed: “No, no, no, I will save you.”
Darshana: “No love, you won’t.”
Prashant cries out: “Please, please, please” as he begs the officers to save her.
Darshana’s father, Narotam Deugi, and mother, Parvati Natu, are also in the dock, accused of assaulting and falsely imprisoning her, weeks earlier, at their family home in Belmont Avenue, Wembley, by locking her inside her bedroom, to prevent her from seeing Prashant.
During the harrowing video footage, Darshana’s mother loudly sobbed on seeing her daughter fighting for her life covered in blood.
The judge stopped the recording to ask if she wanted to leave the dock, to avoid witnessing the video. But she declined burying her head in her scarf throughout the remainder, while her husband appeared distressed and was given a drink of water.
The court heard both parents insisted she wed Soma in an arranged marriage and strictly refused her permission to marry Prashant, whom she began secretly dating since she was 15.
Darshana’s three uncles and a cousin are also on trial, accused of kidnapping Prashant’s father, Govinde Ramji, on January 12, in an effort to establish the runaway couple’s whereabouts, after they fled to Leicester from their homes Wembley.
Soma, 26, who was living in Stroud Road, North Evington, Leicester, allegedly carried out the “revenge” attack, after receiving a tip-off from a friend when the alleged victims were seen shopping on the street where they had recently moved into a flat, in East Park Road.
Adrienne Lucking, QC, prosecuting, said: “The young couple fled their homes in London to escape the plan of her family to force her into an arrange marriage with Bharat Soma against her will and to prevent the couple marrying.
“The family members including these defendants tried to find them.
“They were traced to Leicester.
“After an unsuccessful attempt by Darshana’s family members to force their way into the couple’s flat, which was thwarted by the police, Bharat Soma took matters into his own hands after he was alerted to the couple’s location by a friend who phoned him at about 1pm on January 19.
“Darshana and Prashant were walking along a street with a 15-year-old boy.
“They had been grocery shopping and were returning home.
“As they reached a pedestrian crossing, at the junction of East Park Road and St Saviour’s Road, they were attacked by Soma who intended to kill them.”
He had armed himself with a three-and-a-half inch kitchen paring-knife.
Mrs Lucking said: “He walked up behind the couple and grabbed Darshana from behind and cut her throat.
“She seized the knife with her hands trying to pull it away from her neck, her hands were cut in the process.
“She felt blood pouring from her neck and knew she’d been badly injured; she thought she was going to die.
“As he stabbed her he was shouting ‘my wife, my wife.’
“She wasn’t his wife – but that’s what was on his mind.
“Prashant tried to protect her but Soma tried to kill him, stabbing him though the neck and slashing his cheek.
“Soma attempted to murder them both because Darshana wouldn’t marry him and wished to marry her boyfriend of three years, Prashant.
“The 15-year-old with them, who tried to intervene, was cut and tendons in his hand were severed.”
Mrs Lucking said: “Darshana had tried to reason with Soma on an earlier occasion, but he had told her if she did try to marry someone else he would kill her.
“He took revenge on the perceived insult to his honour and reputation, by attempting to kill them both.”
They were treated in hospital and survived.
Soma denies two counts of attempted murder as well as wounding with intent upon the 15-year-old.
Darshana’s father, Deugi, 41, and mother, Parvati Natu, 42, deny three counts of falsely imprisoning their daughter, by locking her in her bedroom, between October 1 and November 31, last year, between December 19 and 31, and between January 1 and 10.
The mother denies two counts of common assault and the father denies three counts of common assault, including slapping Darshana’s face when asking if she was pregnant, and once putting his hands around her throat.
Darshana’s other relatives, all from Wembley, deny kidnapping Prashant’s father.
They are: Jignesh Devgi, 31, an uncle, of Bridgewater Road, Harsad Jagdish, 25, an uncle, of Bridgewater Road, Shantilal Natu, 37, an uncle, of Belmont Avenue, and Kaushik Meghji, 18, a cousin, of Heather Park Parade.