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Last Updated: Tuesday, 21 February 2006, 13:13 GMT
Life for man who killed relatives
Gurmej Rai
Gurmej Rai must serve at least 35 years
A man has been jailed for life for murdering four relatives by organising for their Black Country home to be set on fire while they were inside.

The judge at Birmingham Crown Court told Gurmej Rai, 38, he must serve a minimum of 35 years in prison.

Rai was convicted of killing wife Darshan Kaur, her parents Ajit Singh, 64, and Gurdish Kaur, 60, and daughter-in-law Palvinder Kaur, 44.

Another two men have been given 14-year sentences for manslaughter.

Rai, of Florence Road, West Bromwich, recruited the two men to set the house, in Peake Drive, Tipton, on fire.

Your intentions were that your victims died in a massive petrol-accelerated fire
Mr Justice Treacy

Rajiv Sahonta, 21, of Station Road, and Ravinder Bedhan, 19, of Raleigh Close, both of Handsworth, were acquitted on Monday of four counts of murder and one of attempted murder.

They said they did not know anyone was in the house in the Dudley Port area but admitted the manslaughter of the four.

Rai was also convicted of the attempted murder of Amerjit Kaur who managed to escape by leaping through a window. He was sentenced to 25 years to run concurrently.

The court had heard Rai lived a bachelor lifestyle in the UK for six years while his wife was in India.

'Anger and revenge'

He resented having to change his ways once his wife arrived in the country and arranged for the arson to take place.

Sentencing him, Mr Justice Treacy said: "You have been convicted for a wicked and terrible crime out of anger and revenge and the desire to set yourself free from your marriage.

"You took the life of the family who stood in the way of your desires."

Your intentions were that your victims died in a "massive petrol-accelerated fire", he added.

Det Chief Insp John Birch said: "He carried out a callous crime and will now spend most of the rest of his life in prison.

"Detectives carried out a painstaking inquiry into this crime and are pleased that justice has been done."

In a statement, the relatives of the deceased said: "Our thoughts are now with Rai's 10-year-old son, Harvinder, who now has lost both his mother and his father."

Harvinder is being cared for by relatives in India, a spokesman for the family added.

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