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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 12:03 GMT 13:03 UK
Callous killings stunned police
By Chris Summers
BBC News Website

Even hardened detectives found it difficult to comprehend the greed and callousness behind the killing of Amarjit Chohan and his family.

Peter Rees, who faces life for murder
Peter Rees guarded Mr Chohan while the other two went off and killed his family
Kenneth Regan thought nothing of killing two small children, the youngest of them eight weeks old, to get his hands on what he wanted.

Regan planned to seize control of Mr Chohan's haulage firm, Ciba Freight, and use it to smuggle drugs into Britain from Spain.

So in February 2003 he decided to kill not just 46-year-old Mr Chohan - known to friends and colleagues as Anil - but also his wife, Nancy, 25, their infant sons Devinder and Ravinder, and Mrs Chohan's mother Charanjit Kaur, a school teacher from the Punjab who was on a prolonged visit.

Assistant Commissioner Tarique Ghaffur said it was the worst case he had seen in 30 years of policing: "You have got a situation where, out of complete greed, criminals infiltrated a legitimate business, and having done that for no other purpose than to get money for themselves they actually then go and kill a whole family."

Regan's carefully thought-out plan began to come unstuck when canoeist David Chapman and his son Carl discovered Mr Chohan's body in the sea off Bournemouth Pier on 22 April.

The game was almost up but Regan, his close friend Bill Horncy and Horncy's pal Peter Rees tried to bluff it out for more than a week.

Regan encouraged Horncy to tell police he had been threatened by gangsters who, by inference, were responsible for Mr Chohan's death.

Chohan case facts
Detectives travelled to India, France, Belgium and the United States as part of their inquiries
The inquiry involved 4,000 documents and 2,000 police actions
The eight-month trial was the longest murder trial in the history of the Metropolitan Police
The judge spent a record five weeks summing up the case for the jury
The trial cost 10m, not including the cost of the police investigation.

Regan wanted police to believe that a man called Nav, who was involved in smuggling khat (a narcotic shrub) to the US using Ciba Freight, was behind Mr Chohan's disappearance.

Regan and Horncy finally realised their charade was over on 29 April when they learned detectives were preparing to excavate a field at a Devon farmhouse.

After murdering Mr Chohan and his family Regan had needed somewhere to dispose of the bodies.

He dug a trench in a field on land belonging to a friend, Belinda Brewin, and buried all five bodies in it, telling her he was laying pipes to sort out a drainage problem.

Ms Brewin later mentioned this incident to detectives - without thinking anything of it - and police made the link.

Buried at sea

As police starting closing in on them, Regan, Horncy and Rees dug up the bodies and dumped them in the sea off the Dorset coast.

Mrs Chohan's body was found in a fisherman's nets off Poole in July and her mother's body washed up on the Isle of Wight in November.

As for Devinder and Ravinder, prosecutor Richard Horwell told the jury: "The bodies of such tiny children must be lost forever to the sea."

It became clear that, on Thursday, 13 February, 2003, Regan and Horncy had lured Mr Chohan to a meeting near Stonehenge.

Rees, posing as a third party interested in buying Ciba Freight, turned up at the rendezvous and helped Regan and Horncy abduct Mr Chohan and take him to the home of Regan's elderly, senile father.

Belinda Brewin
Belinda Brewin was duped by Regan

He was held there for several days while being made to sign several documents and blank pieces of paper which were used to back up Regan's story that Mr Chohan had sold up and disappeared in a hurry.

He was also forced to leave voice messages aimed at reassuring his wife and Ciba Freight colleagues.

On Saturday, 15 February, while Rees guarded Mr Chohan, Regan and Horncy drove to the family home in Hounslow where they tricked Mrs Chohan into letting them in.

They killed her, her sons and her mother before driving the bodies to Salisbury.

After forcing him to make one final phone call, they then killed Mr Chohan, hired a digger and buried the bodies.

So instead of making millions from their drug-smuggling scheme, Regan and Horncy face life behind bars.

1 Amarjit Chohan was lured to a meeting at Stonehenge on 13 February 2003. He was abducted and held at Regan's home near Salisbury where he was later killed.
2 Nancy Chohan, her mother Charanjit Kaur and her two young sons were killed at their home in Hounslow on 15 February
3 The five bodies were buried in a field near Tiverton on 19 February
4 On Easter Sunday the bodies were dug up and then dumped in the sea off Poole, Dorset
Two days later Mr Chohan's body (5) is found near Bournemouth Pier. Mrs Chohan's body (6) was discovered in July and her mother's body (7) washed up on the Isle of Wight in September.

How police tracked down the murderers

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