Page last updated at 16:06 GMT, Monday, 1 February 2010

Case of a poisoned lover 'fundamentally flawed'

Lakhvinder Cheema
Lakhvinder Cheema was known as Lucky

The prosecution case against a woman accused of poisoning her lover is flawed, the Old Bailey has heard.

Lakhvir Singh, 45, denies murdering "Lucky" Cheema, 39, of Feltham west-London, in January last year by putting the rare toxin aconite in his curry.

The prosecution alleges Ms Singh did not want to accept Mr Cheema's imminent marriage to another woman.

Defence counsel Sir Desmond de Silva QC alleged the poisoning could have been the result of an "honour killing".

Mr Cheema's fiancee, Gurjeet Choongh, 22, also became ill after eating the meal.

Died in an hour

Her brother Varinder had been angered after finding out about Mr Cheema's affair with Ms Singh, Sir Desmond told the court.

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

Miss Choongh recovered after treatment, but Mr Cheema died within an hour of admission to hospital.

Sir Desmond said it was the first case of aconite poisoning in England since 1882.

Aconite is a plant that in its fresh form is highly poisonous.

He told the jury: "The prosecution case is fundamentally flawed. She is absolutely innocent."

Ms Singh had been painted as an "evil, spiteful, vindictive woman" who could not bear to see her lover married to another woman, he said.

Sir Desmond said all Ms Singh had to do was pick up a telephone and ring the authorities, because she knew Miss Choongh was an illegal immigrant.

"The prosecution have got the wrong end of the stick," he added.

The case continues.

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