A British mother sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of her husband by poisoning his biryani has spoken for the first time – to protest her innocence and beg for help to get pardoned.
Ramandeep Kaur Mann, 38, from Derby, spoke exclusively to from the squalid death row cell she shares with 55 others – days after she was found guilty of murdering her husband Sukhjit Singh, 34, while they were on holiday in India.
A court ruled last week that Mann slit Sukhjit’s throat after he fell into a deep sleep – helped by her lover so they could benefit from a £2 million life insurance she had taken out in her husband’s name and inherit his property.
As she awaits the hangman’s noose, Mann is being housed in Shahjahanpur District Jail in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh where she is sharing a dormitory-style cell with 55 other female prisoners and sleeps on a dirty concrete floor.
It was here that visited her this week for a world exclusive interview.
British mother Ramandeep Kaur Mann (pictured), 38, who sentenced to death by hanging for the murder of her husband by poisoning his biryani, has spoken for the first time – to protest her innocence and beg for help to get pardoned
The killing was witnessed by their eldest son Arjun who was aged nine at the time. Pictured: Sukhjit Singh and Ramandeep Kaur Mann
Fighting back the tears, Mann told from inside the dilapidated 18th century jail which was built during the British Raj that she is in a ‘living hell.’
She cried: ‘It’s horrendous, it’s like being in hell- both this prison and the bigger situation that I find myself in.
‘It’s the worst thing that has happened to me. I feel so alone, I haven’t made any friends in here and I just keep myself to myself.
‘The food and the conditions are really awful. I don’t speak to anyone, and I don’t want to do anything. I just spend the whole day sitting around crying.’
Wearing a light blue tunic with a pink scarf over her head and with greasy hair tied back, Mann looked dishevelled as she broke down and relived her ordeal.
She sobbed: ‘I have suffered a miscarriage of justice. I haven’t done anything wrong. I was framed and now I’m rotting in this jail.
‘There’s nobody helping me, I’m all alone here. I can’t begin to tell you how horrendous this whole thing is. I’m not good at all. Please, somebody help me.’
Staring at the ground, she added: ‘Nobody from the British High Commission has come to visit me since I’ve been convicted. My parents were here but they’ve now gone back to the UK.
‘When I heard that I had been sentenced to death I was in such shock that I didn’t know what to say. I still can’t believe what’s happening to me. But I want people to know my story. There are no words to describe what a bad situation this is for me.’
She looks considerably thinner than in pictures of her that have already appeared and had dark circles around her puffy eyes, appearing distressed and overwhelmed by her current situation.
Mann with her children and police at the scene of her husband’ murder. He is lying in front of them
Mann with her lover, Gurpreet Singh. He avoided the death sentence but has been sentenced to life imprisonment
Mann is being housed in Shahjahanpur District Jail (pictured) in the north Indian state of Uttar Pradesh
Mann with her husband their son. He started wearing a turban and having a beard around two years before his killing
Sukhjit Singh with his wife and their son. The couple married in 2005 and were living in Derby prior to his death
Sukhjit Singh with his wife, Ramandeep Kaur Mann. She is now pleading for help as she sits in a jail awaiting her execution
Singh with his wife in the UK. The couple were on holiday in India when Singh was murdered
Mann is seen with Gurpreet after the pair had been arrested by police following Singh’s murder
Jail Superintendent Mijaji Lal. He told : ‘We are doing our best to look after her because we understand that things must be very difficult for Mann’
Gurpreet Singh (pictured), who was a childhood friend of Sukhjeet, was sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of £260,000
Ramandeep Kaur Mann now faces the prospect of being hanged for the killing
Her trial at a court in Shahjahanpur, north India heard that Mann’s affair with Gurpreet, who was her husband’s childhood friend, started during a family holiday to Dubai in November 2015
Mann is fed watery dhal, stale chapatis and lumpy rice each day and is only allowed four visits each month while she is not able to make any phone calls to her family back in the UK.
Her prison day begins at 6am when she is forced to stand in a queue with other inmates to use a soiled toilet. She bathes with cold water in a shabby cubicle that is made up of a tap and bucket.
In addition to 55 female prisoners, plus seven of their children who are in Mann’s cell, the jail also houses 1,300 male prisoners in a separate section. Officially, it only has space for 511 inmates, making it one of India’s most over-crowded prisons. Conditions are so bad that the state government is building a new facility outside the city.
Mann is the only foreign prisoner in the entire jail and the only one facing capital punishment.
Jail Superintendent Mijaji Lal told : ‘We are doing our best to look after her because we understand that things must be very difficult for Mann. We’re encouraging her to take up a sport like badminton or run English classes for the other inmates.’
But Mann wept: ‘I can’t bring myself to do anything because everything is so horrible and horrendous, I don’t know what the future holds for me.’
Mann was handed the death penalty earlier this month for the killing, which took place in September 2016 in the village of Basantapur, where Mr Singh’s mother lived, and he was born and raised.
The grisly crime was witnessed by their eldest son, it was heard.
The court heard that she colluded with Gurpreet Singh, an old childhood friend of her husband’s and her lover to kill him for the £2 million life insurance and his property in the UK and India.
Mann mixed sleeping pills into a biryani she made for Mr Singh, who was known as Sonu and their two children.
But it was only eaten by Mr Singh and their then six-year-old son, Aryan. Their older son Arjun, then aged nine, said he was not hungry and ate instant noodles instead.
Devout Sikh Sukhjit Singh (left), 34, a father-of-two from Derby was found in bed with his throat slit
Ramandeep Kaur Mann, 38, from Derby, was found guilty of murdering her husband Sukhjeet Singh, 34, (pictured together) while they were on holiday at his mother’s house in India in 2016
The sound of his father struggling for breath as Mann smothered him with a pillow led Arjun to awaken and witness the horrific events.
He gave evidence against his mother during the trial,revealing how he first saw Gurpreet hit him twice over the head with a hammer followed by her slitting his throat.
She was arrested shortly after while Gurpreet was detained while attempting to board a flight to Dubai.
When asked about the events of that night, Mann wept: ‘I’ve been saying it since the start, I’m innocent. I’ve been framed. This is a miscarriage of justice.’
She revealed that she has not spoken to either of her two children since her arrest and that they have not even written to her.
She cried: ‘I haven’t heard from my two kids for many years. They don’t want to know me. It’s hard to describe my pain, it’s unbearable.’
Mann maintained that the killing was carried out by Mr Singh’s family as they wanted to prevent him from selling 21 acres of land he owned in India.
When asked by for further details about her claim, she hollered: ‘His family framed me.’
Mann refused to go into any details about her marriage or the affair she had with Gurpreet, which started during a family holiday to Dubai in 2015, where he spent time with them.
It continued when she returned to the UK, leading the two to plot Mr Singh’s death. She suggested that they should all go to India to visit his mother and that Gurpreet should accompany them.
Mann mixed sleeping pills into a biryani she made for Mr Singh and their two children, which was his favourite dish
Lawyers for Mann have filed an appeal against her death sentence, claiming that the judge incorrectly applied the law when he handed it down to her
Mr Singh moved to the UK in 2002 and was working as a builder in Slough, where Mann was born and raised with her four siblings.
They married in 2005 and were living in Derby prior to his death.
She has always maintained that she asked him for a divorce, but he rejected this.
Gurpreet confessed to the crime and insisted that he was asked by Mann to buy a knife and a hammer after she told him: ‘I want to kill him. You have to help me.’
He was spared the death penalty after being found guilty of murder and sentenced to life imprisonment with a fine of 300,000 Rupees (approximately £3,000). He is being held in the men’s section of Shahjahan District Jail.
Lawyers for Mann have appealed the death sentence, but it could take several years before it is heard.
In the meantime, she will have to languish in an Indian prison as she continues to protest her innocence.
As Mann was led away by a prison officer to her decrepit cell, she cried: ‘I really don’t know what more to say or what to do. I just want to go home.’