Sareata Ginda has insisted her father did not kill his wife – her mother – in 1973
The daughter of a man convicted of butchering his wife before skinning her and burning the body has protested his innocence.
Mother-of-four Vidya Ginda disappeared on October 29, 1973, from the grocery shop she ran with her husband Bhajan Ram Ginda in Wolverhampton.
The skull of an Asian woman was found by a group of schoolchildren in Smethwick, West Midlands, in 1977, it did not turn out to be Vidya’s and her remains have never been found.
Following a trial in 1978, Bhajan was convicted of his wife’s manslaughter but his sentence was mired in controversy amid allegations he had been forced to confess.
Now the couple’s daughter Sareata Ginda, 40, is speaking out for the first time to insist her father was not guilty and her mother’s killer is still out there.
Sareata, who was just a few months old at the time of her mother’s disappearance, said: ‘I am 100 per cent sure that what my father got convicted of he did not do.
‘I have been living all this time with this horrendous story that we have no evidence that it even happened. That’s the thing that is probably the most upsetting.
‘I would like anyone with any information, regardless of how insignificant they think it may be, to please come forward and tell me what they know.
‘Even the smallest bits of information such as when the school holidays were that month or what day the bins were collected could be valuable to me.
‘I just want closure and to discover what really happened to my mother.
‘Because it was so long ago people are getting old and dying. If I want to find out what happened to my mother it’s now or never.’
Sareata with her father Bhajan, who died in 2012. She is now investigating the case and protesting his innocence
Mother-of-four Vidya Ginda disappeared on October 29, 1973, from the grocery shop she ran with her husband Bhajan Ram Ginda in Wolverhampton
Bhajan was charged with murder, manslaughter and obstructing or preventing a coroner in the execution of his duty.
He served seven years in prison after being found guilty of manslaughter but not guilty of murder at Stafford Crown Court.
His signed police statement had said he ‘panicked’ after Vidya fell down the stairs following a row, and he decided to ‘joint’ her out of fear her family would blame him for what happened.
But before the trial got underway Bhajan claimed he had been beaten in police interviews and was so scared he felt he had no choice but to ‘tell them what they wanted to hear.’
He claimed as he was driven to the police station he was threatened by one officer, who told him: ‘If you don’t tell us the truth you know what we will do, we will push you from a fast running car and we will make them think you tried to escape.’
A witness is also alleged to have repeatedly altered his statement, first claiming Bhajan and his wife got on well.
The witness then claimed ‘he had been asked to cut up meat which he believed to be his bosses’ wife.’
Vidya and Bhajan Ginda. Bhajan served seven years in prison for manslaughter but maintained he had been forced to confess
A witness is alleged to have repeatedly altered his statement, first claiming Bhajan and his wife got on well. The witness then claimed ‘he had been asked to cut up meat which he believed to be his bosses’ wife’
Following a trial in 1978, Bhajan was convicted of his wife’s manslaughter but his sentence was mired in controversy amid allegations he had been forced to confess
At the trial, a pathologist said Vidya would not have suffered the injuries Bhajan described from the fall, while a cremation engineer said that the fire of the nature described by Bhajan would not have been able to burn Vidya’s bones.
And a chemist who analysed soil from the back garden of the family home said he had found nothing unusual to suggest bones or tissue had been burnt there.
Bhajan, who remarried after a psychic told him his wife was dead, died in 2012 and never appealed his conviction after he was told legal aid would only be available if he challenged the sentence rather than the conviction.
Sareata, a former lecturer at Middlesex University, has now quit her job to research the case full-time in an effort to finally find out what happened to her mother and has returned to her parents’ house in a bid to solve the crime.
She claims police failed to make a full search of the family home at the time of the case and hopes forensic teams will be allowed access to investigate inside the property.
Newspapers at the time of the murder mystery in the 1970s speculated heavily on Bhajan’s part in the crime
Sareata, a former lecturer at Middlesex University, has now quit her job to research the case full-time in an effort to finally find out what happened to her mother
Sareata said: ‘[Coming back to the home] I just feel afraid. Feeling afraid that something so awful could have happened here to my mother.
‘I was very young at the time, and my mother’s body was never found. I want a forensic team to go into the family home and do a proper search.
‘I won’t know the answer until that happens.’
Working on her mother’s disappearance since the age of 18, in November 2016 Sareta submitted a file to the Criminal Cases Review Commission asking them to look again her mother’s case.
The commission has been reviewing the case for around 18 months, with a spokesman confirming it has been under review since June 2017.
West Midlands Police said it would be ‘inappropriate’ to comment on the case as it is currently under review by the Criminal Cases Review Commission.