The Guardian
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Mother killed in Australia while on phone to husband in India


AN Indian mother was fatally stabbed in a Sydney park during a brutal attack as she was on the phone to her distraught husband back home, police said Monday.

Prabha Arun Kumar, a 41-year-old IT professional, was taking a shortcut through Parramatta Park in the city’s west at around 9.30pm on Saturday when she was killed.

Police refused to reveal details of the phone call, but reports said she told her husband: “He stabbed me, darling”, before the conversation abruptly ended. 

“He’s understandably extremely distressed,” homicide squad commander Michael Willing said of Kumar’s husband who jetted into Australia Monday and was helping police with their investigation.

“Here we have an Indian national who has been in the country for some time, going about her business and ends up being killed in a very vicious way.” 

Police appealed for help from the public, releasing footage of Kumar walking from Parramatta Railway Station.

“It’s a horrific crime. It’s a very, very disturbing crime,” Willing added.

“We think that she sustained a number of injuries to the neck area with what we believe is a sharp-edged weapon.”

Police said there was nothing to suggest the murder of Kumar, who reportedly planned to move back to India to be with her husband and nine-year-old daughter, was racially motivated.

“Could this be a random attack? Well, yes it could. It could be a whole range of scenarios… and we are considering all of them,” Willing said.

The dead woman’s flatmate said Kumar had probably not wanted to bother anyone to ask for a lift home after finishing work late and arriving at Parramatta train station at 9pm.

“Because she was working late regularly, she felt bad to ask for help,” her flatmate, who asked to be identified as Sarada, told The Daily Telegraph.

“Maybe that is the reason she didn’t call.”

Instead she decided to walk, and was attacked near a quiet, tree-lined path where bouquets of flowers were Monday left in her honour.

“Dear Prabha, may your soul rest in peace. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family at this moment,” read a note on one bunch.  

Kumar was found by a passer-by shortly afterwards and rushed to hospital but had lost too much blood and doctors were unable to save her. She was just 300 metres from home.

“I don’t know how I am going to face her husband,” Sarada said. “She is very close to her husband and her daughter.

“She talks to them every day, as soon as she finishes work she calls her husband and keeps talking. She has a good family.”

No arrests have been made so far.

A spate of violent crimes against Indian students in Australia in 2010, including the stabbing murder of 21-year-old Nitin Garg as he walked to work at a fast-food restaurant in Melbourne, heightened tensions between the two countries.

But the number of tourists visiting from India has picked up since, and India’s charismatic leader Narendra Modi described warmer relations between the nations as “natural” during a 2014 visit.


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