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Indian girl found raped and murdered in Australia

Last updated on: March 14, 2011 17:32 IST

In a gruesome incident, a 24-year-old Indian student was raped, murdered and her body was stuffed inside a suitcase in Sydney last week. The suitcase was found by some construction workers near a canal.

"On March 11 morning, construction workers found the suitcase containing the woman's body in a water canal near Meadowbank Park and alerted the police," said a statement issued by the local police.

The victim was identified as Indian student Tosha Thakkar and the police are now waiting for the results of a post-mortem examination to determine exactly how she died. They have confirmed that she was last seen alive on March 9.

Thakkar was studying accounting at the Sydney College of Business and IT, which collaborates with Southern Cross University, and was a permanent resident of Australia. Friends and family members of Thakkar told the media that they had no idea why she was killed.

The police has arrested 19-year-old Daniel Stani-Reginald in connection with the murder. The accused was questioned by detectives and charged with murder and aggravated sexual assault.

Stani-Reginald, who lived close to Thakkar in Croydon, was arrested at an Ashfield motel over the weekend and appeared via video link in Parramatta Local Court on Sunday, according to the Sydney Morning Herald newspaper. The court refused to grant him bail.

Outside the court, the students held up a poster that read, "We want justice for our Indian international friend Tosha Thakkar".

Thakkar's relative Anish Popli said nobody had any reason to attack her.

"She wouldn't hurt or harm anybody. She had been living in Australia for three or four years and did not fit the profile of a fresh-faced arrival vulnerable to attack. It's not like she's never been here -- she knew her way around," he said.

Southern Cross University extended its condolences to Thakkar's family, friends and colleagues, a spokeswoman said on Sunday. The university is providing counselling and support services to students and staff. 

Natasha Chaku In Melbourne
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