"Truly tragic": Dr Preethi Reddy murdered by ex-partner, coroner finds
Sydney dentist Preethi Reddy was murdered by her ex-partner in the bathroom of a hotel before he attempted to conceal his “heinous act”, a coroner has found.
The 32-year-old was reported missing by her family after she failed to return from a dental conference in St Leonards in March last year.
Her body was found in a suitcase in her car hours after Tamworth dentist Harshwardhan Narde took his own life in a car crash on the New England Highway on March 4, 2019.
“Far too often, we see women who are killed by their domestic partners,” the NSW coroner Carmel Forbes said on Wednesday.
The coroner said she was satisfied Narde, 34, murdered Reddy in his Swissotel Sydney room on March 3 sometime after the woman called her current partner at 11.06am.
CCTV captured Narde later that day extending his hotel booking and buying a large suitcase and garbage bags, along with towels and cleaning products.
“Dr Narde’s actions subsequent to [11.06am] are consistent with him attempting to conceal his heinous act,” Forbes said.
Reddy and Narde attended the same conference separately and had dinner together at a Crows Nest restaurant on March 2. The restaurant owner noted there was no “happiness or laughter” between the two, Forbes said.
Reddy was last seen alive entering Narde’s room about 3am on March 3.
“The circumstances of Dr Reddy’s death are truly tragic and horrifying,” Forbes said.
“There is ample evidence that supports the opinion expressed by Dr Reddy’s sister Nithya that Dr Reddy was with Dr Narde that night trying to be compassionate and understanding towards him and trying to give him closure on their ended relationship.”
Narde made a statement to police the day after at the insistence of her sister and lied about the last time he had seen Reddy. He also claimed he had been at a backpackers’ hostel on the night of March 2.
Narde intentionally drove his car into a truck after leaving Tamworth police station for a second time.
Reddy was held in high regard by friends and colleagues, the coroner said.
“Her death has been an unbearable loss to her family and partner,” Forbes said.
The homicide will also be examined by the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team.
In March this year, Nithya Reddy shared a tribute to her sister on social media.
“Wherever you are Preeths, I’m never going to stop loving you and I’m never going to stop talking about the incredible person you are,” she wrote.
“I’m so lucky that I got 30 years of having you as a big sister, you taught me so, so much about life and love.”
If you or someone you know is experiencing domestic or family violence, contact the 24-hour support line 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732 or visit 1800RESPECT.org.au.
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