Tejwant Danjou was reduced to tears on Monday (Sept. 14) afternoon as he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years in the murder of his common-law partner, Rama Gauravarapu.
The former Surrey real estate agent was convicted of second-degree murder last month for bludgeoning Gauravarapu to death with a wine bottle in a West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018, while the two were on vacation in the area.
Crown sought parole ineligibility for a 13-to-14-year term, while Danjou’s defence called for the mandatory minimum 10-year term. Ultimately, Justice Allison Beames split the difference between the two suggestions, opting for 12 years of parole ineligibility.
“This was a brutal, tragic and senseless killing,” Beames said as she delivered her verdict.
“By all accounts, Rama Gauravarapu was a much-loved and respected mother, family member, friend and colleague.”
While giving her submissions, Crown counsel Simone McCallum told the court of Danjou’s “prolonged” and “horrible” assault on Gauravarapu that ended her life. The onslaught caused 52 separate areas of injury, mostly to Gauravarapu’s head and neck. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma.
“It’s no stretch to call this a brutal attack,” McCallum told Beames.
Danjou’s defence lawyer, Donna Turko, offered to the court a letter of support penned by one of his daughters — who cannot be named due to a publication ban — on behalf of his family, which caused Danjou to break into silent sobs.
“This tragedy has been felt deeply by all of us and we are concerned for his future,” she wrote, describing him as a kind and honourable man.
“He’s a selfless man who always put the needs of others before his own without ever expecting anything in return.”
When asked if he had anything to say, Danjou started by offering that his daughter’s letter was “too much” while continuing to dab tears from his eyes.
“It’s ironic that I had to come to jail to find peace,” he said. “Incarceration of two years actually helped me immensely… I lead a life full of bliss in the jail and I am constantly in harmony with the present moment.”
Turko added that Danjou has reconnected with his Buddhist faith during his time in prison and has been a model prisoner — even earning the title of “Pod Father” from his fellow inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre.
None of Gauravarapu’s family, who was present through most of the trial, was in attendance for the sentencing.
Danjou will spend the first two years of his sentence at the maximum-security Kent Institution in Agassiz, according to his defence lawyer. He will become eligible for parole in 2030.
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