Honour crime defendant given 23 years in prison
A man who tried to kill his fiancé and her lover has been jailed for 23 years. The defendant Bharat Soma slashed the throats of 17-year-old Darshana Narotam and 22-year-old Prashant Govinde in a vicious “revenge” attack.
After hearing his sentence Soma held his hands together in a prayer position to the judge and jury in apparent remorse, before stepping down from the dock.
He was previously found guilty of attempted murder by Leicester Crown Court, the High Court Judge, Mr Justice Saunders said, “The attack was intended by Mr Soma to be a cold-blooded murder, committed to prevent Darshana from marrying anyone else.”
Darshana had her throat slashed by Soma in a violent attack whilst Prashant was stabbed in the neck, the 15-year-old present was also injured during the incident. It was labelled an honour motivated attack as Soma was betrothed to Darshana but the teenager had eloped with her boyfriend.
The judge praised the swift action of the police, “Fortunately the police were on the scene very quickly and took appropriate steps to stem the two victims’ bleeding, which was considerable.
“It may well be that the prompt police action saved the lives of these two young people.
“Both the jury and I were impressed with the efficient, calm and highly professional way in which the police carried out their duty.
“The background was that Bharat Soma was engaged to be married to Darshana Narotam, which was arranged by her parents and I’m satisfied Darshana never willingly agreed to it.
“She never told Soma she wanted to marry him although she agreed to the engagement because she felt she had no option but to go along with her parents’ wishes until she was old enough to be able to marry Prashant without their consent.”
“He went around the streets looking for Darshana so he could kill her.”
Mr Justice Saunders added, “Immediately after the attack Soma was repeating ‘my wife, my wife.’
“The defendant told the police he lost his mind, because he believed that a curse had been put on him.”
The judge refrained from giving a life sentence due to Soma’s previous good character. Although Darshana and Prashant have since married and live in a secret address they are still permanently scarred from the attack. However the judge maintained they did not suffer “serious long term harm”.
He added, “That’s not to underestimate the ordeal they’ve gone through and the considerable difficulties they still have.
“It’s hoped they’ll make a good long term recovery.
“They’ve had to move away from family, friends and jobs because they’re under threat of reprisals from other people – which is not attributable to Mr Soma.
“I very much hope those threats will now cease.
“The opinion of Dr Shankar (psychiatrist) is that Mr Soma is suffering from an adjustment disorder with prolonged depressive reaction.”
Soma’s defence counsel, Jo Sidhu QC said that whilst Soma was not suffering from a specific mental illness he was still incredibly affected by Darshana’s refusal to marry him.
Mr Sidhu said, “It made him feel low and he felt very hurt.
“He got a tip off about where they were and acted on impulse.
“He feels bad about the effect of his actions and many times he’s cried about it.
“He’s not wired the same as other people because in his family there’s an unfortunate pattern of suicide; both his father and paternal grandfather killed themselves.
“His feelings for Darshana remained strong, right up until the day of this attack.”