Page last updated at 15:30 GMT, Friday, 8 January 2010

Fiancee tells of curry poisoning

Lakhvinder Cheema
Lakhvinder Cheema was known as Lucky

The fiancee of a man who died after eating a poisoned curry has told a court they became ill after discussing their wedding plans over the meal.

Gurjeet Choongh, 22, told the Old Bailey she fell ill and Lakhvinder Cheema, 39, died after eating the dish at their home in Feltham, west London.

Ms Choongh said her fiancee lost his sight and could not support himself soon after the meal in January 2009.

His ex-lover Lakhvir Kaur Singh, 45, denies murder and attempted murder.

Miss Choongh told the court they had shared the meal at Mr Cheema's house and were talking about their wedding plans when he became ill.

"Lucky ate more than I. After that, he had second helpings," she told the court.

"Lucky said to me, 'I am not feeling very well. My face has become numb and when I touch it, I cannot feel it'."

Lakhvir Kaur Singh arrives at court
Ms Singh and Mr Cheema had been lovers for 16 years

Miss Choongh had a shower and then said she began feeling similar symptoms, and Mr Cheema called an ambulance to the house.

"He said that everything seemed to be going dark. He could not see anything and was losing feelings in his body," Miss Choongh said.

"I was feeling the same. Everything was going dark. I began to feel dizzy. It was difficult to stand up. My tummy was hurting."

Miss Choongh told the court that, after being told that his former lover Ms Singh had been to the house, Mr Cheema said she must have spiked the meal.

After an ambulance failed to arrive, the couple were taken to hospital in a car.

Miss Choongh was placed into a coma and recovered after treatment, but Mr Cheema died within an hour of admission.

The prosecution said Ms Singh placed deadly Indian aconite, disguised with herbs, into a curry meal in the fridge at Mr Cheema's home.

Tenants said they let her in and saw her taking the container of curry out.

Edward Brown QC, prosecuting, said that the married mother-of-three, of Southall, west London, became jealous and could not accept rejection when Mr Cheema - her secret lover of 16 years - became engaged to the younger woman two months before he died.

Ms Singh also denies poisoning Mr Cheema the month before. He spent a week in hospital after the earlier alleged incident.

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