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Last Updated: Friday, 1 July, 2005, 13:38 GMT 14:38 UK
The brother's story
By Chris Summers
BBC News

Two men have been convicted of the murder of a family of five - including two children, one of them eight weeks old. A third man has been convicted of murdering the father and assisting an offender. The killers might have got away with it if it had not been for the brother of one of the victims.

Nancy Chohan's brother, Onkar Verma, lived in New Zealand but was very close to his younger sister and they spoke almost daily on the telephone.

Onkar Verma
Mr Verma has not heard from his sister or mother since February
So, when in February 2003 Kenneth Regan claimed Amarjit Chohan and his family had vanished to escape from criminals who he owed money to, Mr Verma was the only person who did not believe the story for a second.

He knew his sister and his mother, Charanjit Kaur, would not vanish without letting him know where they were going or staying in contact.

Richard Horwell, prosecuting, said the killers' plan was flawed: "They had not considered the persistence of Onkar Verma or the Metropolitan Police."

Mr Verma e-mailed Scotland Yard and nagged the police until they began investigating the family's disappearance.

He flew to Britain and stayed in the family's house in Hounslow, west London - which had been left like the Marie Celeste since the day when Mrs Chohan, her mother and her two little boys were killed by Regan's gang and their bodies removed.

One thing which immediately jarred with him was the fact that his mother, a teacher who lived in the Punjab, had not taken her copy of the Sikh holy book - the Guru Granth Sahib - with her.

Mr Verma began making his own inquiries, including speaking to his brother-in-law's employees at Ciba Freight, which was based at Heathrow.

Charanjit Kaur
Charanjit Kaur's ashes have now been scattered in India

Slowly but surely he came to realise that Regan was responsible for the disappearance of his sister, his mother, his nephews and his brother-in-law.

After the verdict Mr Verma, in a statement, said: "The verdict, although welcome, is a painful reminder of an indescribable loss.

"The last two years have been a living nightmare. The deliberate, premeditated slaughter of my innocent family is akin to me being given a life sentence - a life with no laughter, no happiness and no joy."

His words were read out by a family friend as Mr Verma is in India organising his mother's probate.

Campaigner Suresh Grover, speaking outside the court, criticised police for not taking the family's disappearance seriously enough until Mr Verma arrived from New Zealand.

He said Mr Verma, who is currently in India, believed the investigation was initially tainted as the police had been influenced by the false stereo-type of "an Indian businessman who was involved in something dodgy".

Although Regan had not bargained for Mr Verma he was still confident of outwitting the police.

Watch amateur video of the murdered family


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