Muga, November 25
Australian police tweeted on Friday that a Punjabi suspect allegedly charged with the 2018 murder of 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley on a Queensland beach has been arrested.
Queensland Police have said Rajwinder Singh has been arrested in Delhi and will soon face an extradition case. He was arraigned in a court in Delhi on Friday, which sent him to five days’ detention. Singh was sent to jail until November 30 after being arraigned in court.
Australian police had announced a record $1 million (Rs 5.31 crore) reward on Nov. 3 for information leading to the suspect, Rajwinder Singh, 38, who worked as a nurse in Innisfail. He reportedly fled to India after allegedly killing Toyah Cordingley.
Police had released his photos as he was on his way to a flight to India on October 23, 2018, leaving behind his wife and three children. His brother had previously admitted that Rajwinder had landed at Amritsar airport and was in mental distress due to work-related issues. Little was known about him since then.
He moved to Queensland with his family more than twenty years ago. He may have used a false address to obtain a passport and visa.
Rajwinder worked as a geriatric nurse for several years. He was married with three children, all of whom lived in the town of Innisfail. His father Amar Singh and brother-in-law Harpreet Singh also live there. The whole family moved to Australia.
Relatives of Rajwinder Singh, who lived in Innisfail, reported that he left the town on October 21, 2018 (the date of Toyah’s murder).
He had visited Cairns earlier that day, before frantically returning and buying a plane ticket. He flew to Sydney that evening (21 October 2018) where he spent the next few hours with his sister before boarding a flight to Amritsar.
He left behind his wife, children (one of whom was a newborn at the time) and other relatives as he fled Australia. Reportedly, he has not contacted them for the past four years. Nor did he use any of his debit or credit cards.
Rajwinder Singh was not the only one identified as a suspect. Queensland Police had previously said that “several persons of interest” were being actively investigated and that they had not narrowed down to one person.
Since Rajwinder’s location was found near the murder scene, the police had enough circumstantial and documented evidence to charge him as the prime suspect, which forced the Australian government to seek help from the Indian authorities to search for him apart from announcing a huge reward of 10,00,000 Australian dollars (Rs 5.31 crore) for anyone who helped arrest him.
The Indian government approved the formal extradition of Rajwinder Singh a few months ago.
Local police and intelligence sleuths in Moga had previously conducted door-to-door verification of the residents of Buttar Kalan village, but Rajwinder’s antecedents could not be found in this village. Moga’s SSP, Gulneet Singh Khurana, said he actually belongs to Buttar Kalan village in Amritsar district.
Queensland Police Commissioner Katarina Carroll said the day was “long overdue”, while the Federal Attorney General said Singh’s extradition was a “high priority” for the government.