July 27th, 2007 05:39 EST
Mother and son convicted of murder in the U.K.
Enquiries revealed that Sukhdave and Bachan (the mother in law) were concerned that the pending divorce would bring disgrace on the family and would cause financial difficulties.
Officers arrested Sukhdave and Bachan on suspicion of conspiracy to murder in May 2000 and searched the family address. They found forged documents to the Indian authorities, purportedly from the Met asking them to call off their efforts to find Surjit.
As the enquiry progressed, members of the Athwal family agreed to give evidence regarding conversations that Sukhdave and Bachan had with the family about "getting rid" of Surjit and that she had been strangled.
The defendants were rearrested in November 2005 and charged with conspiracy to murder. To date, despite extensive enquiries, Surjit`s body has not been found.
DCI Clive Driscoll of the Specialist Crime Directorate said:
"I am extremely pleased with today`s result which is the culmination of over 8 years work by the Met, and the determination of Surjit`s family, to see the perpetrators brought to justice. The investigation team has worked closely with both the extended family of the defendants, Surjit`s family and the Sikh community to build up confidence in the police and to enable the vital witnesses to come forward.
"This case highlights how seriously we treat any murder or violence, regardless of the motive, whether it be for financial gain or in-the name of so called honour "
Sentencing will take place on 19 September.