AN elderly Black Country man accused of killing his 82-year-old wife by battering her has insisted to magistrates that he had not done anything to her.
Pargan Singh Bhandal, also 82, of Trehernes Drive, Pedmore, Stourbridge, has been charged with the murder of his wife Gian Kaur Bhandal on January 22 or 23.
Appearing in the magistrates’ court at the Warwickshire Justice Centre in Leamington Spa, Bhandal walked unsteadily into the dock with the aid of crutches.
He was allowed to remain seated before giving his name and date of birth through a Punjabi interpreter, confirming his address, and giving his nationality as British.
The magistrates’ legal executive read out the charge and told him it was ‘indictable-only,’ so the case would have to be sent to the crown court to be dealt with by a judge and jury.
Bhandal, with short grey hair and a grey beard, and wearing a beige zip-up jacket, responded through the interpreter: “I haven’t done anything.”
Prosecutor Baldev Singh Atwal outlined: “Mr Bhandal faces an allegation of murder, the deceased being 82-year-old Gian Bhandal, his wife.”
He explained: “At 11.13 on the morning of the 23rd of January, West Midlands Ambulance Service received a 999 call from Bhandal’s son reporting the discovery of his deceased mother in the bedroom at the address.”
Given the nature of the call, paramedics did not attend until 2.05 that afternoon and conducted enquiries during which it was said that Mrs Bhandal had been dead at 8.30.
The apparent discrepancy in times led to the police being informed – and a pathologist’s examination disclosed that she had suffered a fractured sternum, a broken arm and several broken ribs, it was alleged.
It was said by family members that she had fallen, but following an investigation, Bhandal was charged with her murder, said Mr Atwal.
In terms of Bhandal’s remand status, he pointed out that that could only be considered by the crown court, and that Bhandal would have to remain in custody at least until a hearing takes place in the crown court.
The legal executive said the next hearing would be at Warwick Crown Court on February 11.
And the chairman of the bench, magistrate David Johnston, told Bhandal: “You are being sent for trial to Warwick Crown Court for the offence of murder.
“You will attend there on Tuesday the 11th of February, and until that time you will be remanded in custody.”
As he was being led from the dock after being helped to his feet by the dock officers, Bhandal turned to the interpreter and thanked her in English.