Prabha Arun Kumar, a 41-year-old Indian IT consultant who was brutally stabbed to death in Australia, was on the phone talking to her husband when the attack took place.
Kumar was knifed — just 300m from her home — as she took a shortcut through Parramatta Park in Sydney’s west around 9.30pm on Saturday night.
“He stabbed me, darling,” she told husband Arun Kumar, Sydney’s The Daily Telegraph reported, as the conversation abruptly ended.
Kumar’s nephew, Thrijesh Jayachandra, said, “Last word’s my uncle heard from my aunt was that she was stabbed; they both were on phone as usual after her office hours, this was somewhere around 3pm IST.”
Kumar was found by a by-passer shortly afterwards and rushed to hospital but she had lost too much blood and doctors were unable to save her.
Jayachandra said “around 6:30 or so in the evening we received a call by someone from her office side stating that she was out of danger, but later in the evening we were informed by her brother Shankar, who lives in Perth, that she was no more”.
“It is a horrific attack without any stretch of the imagination,” police superintendent Wayne Cox said.
Kumar’s husband flew to Australia from India, where both he and their nine-year-old daughter live.
“My uncle left for Australia by 12:20am flight, as he was only person with visa in the family. Their nine-year-old daughter is with us, unaware of what has happened to her mother,” Jayachandra said, adding that “we were expecting aunty back home in the first week of April.”
The victim’s flatmate said Kumar had probably not wanted to bother anyone to ask for a lift home after finishing work late and arriving at Parramatta train station at 9pm.
Instead she decided to walk, and was attacked near a tree-lined walkway.
“Because she was working late regularly, she felt bad to ask for help,” her flatmate, who asked to be identified as Sarada, told The Daily Telegraph.
“Maybe that is the reason she didn’t call.”
Sarada said she had repeatedly warned her friend not to walk through the park after dark.
“I told her that it is not a safe way to come through because there are people that stop and ask you for money, like $2,” she said.
“I don’t know how I am going to face her husband. She is very close to her husband and her daughter. She talks to them every day, as soon as she finishes work she calls her husband and keeps talking. She has a good family.”
Police have established a task force to investigate the murder but no arrests have so far been made.
Meanwhile, Prabha’s employer Mindtree in a statement has called the incident extremely “unfortunate” and “shocking”.
“Our prayers are with the family of the deceased. We are working with the officials of both the countries to help the family to bring the body back to India. We are providing all the necessary support to authorities investigating the case,” it said.
A spate of violent crimes against Indian students in Australia in 2010, including the stabbing murder of 21-year-old Punjab man Nitin Garg as he walked to work at a fast-food restaurant in Melbourne, heightened tensions between Australia and India.
But since then the number of tourists visiting from India has picked up, and Prime Minister Narendra Modi has described warmer relations between the nations as “natural” during a 2014 visit.
(With AFP and PTI inputs)