Rama Gauravarapu was killed in her West Kelowna hotel room on July, 22, 2018. (Contributed)

Surrey man handed life sentence for West Kelowna murder of common-law partner

‘This was a brutal, tragic and senseless killing,’ said Justice Allison Beames

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.”

READ MORE: Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

READ MORE: Surrey couple had abusive relationship prior to woman’s West Kelowna murder

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.”

READ MORE: Surrey man accused of West Kelowna murder ‘shocked’ when told he was being investigated

READ MORE: Eyewitness recalls seeing altercation between Surrey couple prior to woman’s murder

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.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

murder trial

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Interior Health continues to tackle COVID-19

IH president Susan Brown says don’t become complacent about pandemic

Cops for Kids to pedal through Vernon Saturday afternoon

Supporters are encouraged to cheer on their local RCMP participants at 3:30 p.m.

Wanted Enderby man connected to Shuswap stabbing caught in Coldstream

Alexander Boucher, 36, is charged with attempted murder linked to a stabbing in Blind Bay

Northern section of Okanagan Rail Trail to close for repairs

Erosion mitigation work will begin Monday and continue until mid-October

Okanagan volunteers slowing down speeders

Speed Watch program back in action with schools back in session

VIDEO: B.C. to launch mouth-rinse COVID-19 test for kids

Test involves swishing and gargling saline in mouth and no deep-nasal swab

Young Canadians have curtailed vaping during pandemic, survey finds

The survey funded by Heart & Stroke also found the decrease in vaping frequency is most notable in British Columbia and Ontario

B.C. teachers file Labour Relations Board application over COVID-19 classroom concerns

The application comes as B.C.’s second week of the new school year comes to a close

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

CHARTS: Beyond Metro Vancouver, COVID-19 cases in B.C. haven’t increased much recently

COVID-19 case counts outside of Metro Vancouver have been level since July

70-year-old punched in the head in dispute over disability parking space in Nanaimo

Senior’s turban knocked off in incident at mall parking lot

Thousands of child care spaces coming to 35 B.C. communities

Province announces milestone in Childcare BC plan

Most Read