Tejwant Danjou is accused of second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu in West Kelowna. (File)

BREAKING: Surrey man pleads guilty on first day of West Kelowna murder trial

Tejwant Danjou is charged with second-degree murder in the July 2018 death of Rama Gauravarapu

This story has been updated with additional information.

In a bombshell start to what was supposed to be a five-week trial, Surrey resident Tejwant Danjou pleaded guilty to second-degree murder against the advice of his counsel on Tuesday (Feb. 25).

Danjou delivered his plea adamantly with his fists clenched and pressed up against the edge of the prisoners’ box in a BC Supreme Court in Kelowna.

“Guilty,” he said when asked how he pled to the charges, shocking both defence and Crown counsel.

His defence lawyer, Donna Turko, was quick to correct him.

“No, Mr. Danjou is not guilty,” she said.

BC Supreme Court Justice Alison Beames asked Turko if she needed to consult her client but Danjou again jumped in.

“I don’t need to speak to anybody, my lady. I’m guilty,” he said.

Beames called for a 15-minute recess so Turko could speak to Danjou but upon their return, nothing had changed and the court accepted his plea.

Danjou said the crown offered him a 10-year sentence in a plea deal. As second-degree murder comes with a mandatory life sentence, this likely pertains to his parole eligibility.

Despite what the Crown may have offered him, Beames made it clear the sentencing decision is ultimately up to her.

While Danjou expressed his wish to have sentencing completed on Tuesday, Beames said the date is tentatively set for March 13.

Circumstances surrounding the murder have yet to be revealed but lawyers will meet Wednesday morning (Feb. 26) to submit an agreed statement of facts to the court.

Danjou was arrested on July 22, 2018, after police were called to the Best Western hotel in the 3400-block of Carrington Road following a report of a woman in need of assistance.

Police said the woman, later identified as Rama Gauravarapu, died that night and Danjou, who was 69 years old at the time, was charged with killing her.

According to RCMP, the two were known to each other and a code used on Danjou’s court file is reserved for cases where the victim and accused are in, or were previously in, a close and personal or intimate relationship.

Gauravarapu had been a financial planner at a Surrey Royal Bank branch for 20 years.

Danjou had been a real estate agent and after he was charged his real estate licence was suspended by the Real Estate Council of British Columbia.

READ MORE: Surrey real estate agent charged in West Kelowna murder loses licence

READ MORE: Charges laid in West Kelowna killing


@michaelrdrguez
michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Surrey pushing the poor out of Whalley, public hearing speakers say

‘There is a war on the poor here in Surrey,’ resident Dave Diewert tells city council

Liquor permission considered for White Rock’s Memorial Park

Council mulls business-boosting measures, including picnic benches

Surrey seniors call Seniors’ Centre Without Walls, a new-to-B.C. program

‘Crazy coincidence’ saw program connect soon after COVID-19 pandemic hit

IHIT investigating death of Surrey woman

Injured woman was taken to SMH early Tuesday morning

If Trudeau won’t stand up to Trump, how will regular people: Singh

Trudeau did not directly answer a question about Trump’s actions amid protests

Facing changes together: Your community, your journalists

We’re asking you to lock arms with us, as we look to better days ahead

VIDEO: Internal investigation into aggressive arrest by Kelowna Mountie

A video allegedly shows a Kelowna Mountie striking a man several times

COVID claims 23rd Langley Lodge patient, making it the deadliest outbreak in B.C.

Coronavirus kills another senior at Langley care home, bringing B.C. total to 166

Family of dead B.C. football star urge changes to mental health policies in hospitals

Uko family disappointed in actions of Regina hospital, hosting public funeral service this weekend

22 new COVID-19 test-positives, one death following days of low case counts in B.C.

Health officials urged British Columbians to ‘stand together while staying apart’

John Horgan says COVID-19 restrictions won’t be eased regionally

B.C. Liberals urge ‘tailored’ response based on infections

Feds get failing grade for lack of action plan on anniversary of MMIWG report

‘Instead of a National Action Plan, we have been left with a Lack-of-Action Plan’

Maple Ridge woman fights WorkSafe BC over police widow’s pension

Dalila Vroom says husband, Const. Rob Vroom, died as a result of PTSD from time with Abbotsford PD

Most Read