Accused murderer admitted killing pregnant woman, roommate testifies

Amjad Khan (left) and Naim Saghir are currently on trial for first-degree murder in the 2005 death of 21-year-old pregnant mom Tasha Rossette (below). - Court illustration by Sheila Allan
Amjad Khan (left) and Naim Saghir are currently on trial for first-degree murder in the 2005 death of 21-year-old pregnant mom Tasha Rossette (below).
— image credit: Court illustration by Sheila Allan

Ravi Singh says he was asleep when his roommate Naim Saghir woke him late one night in November 2005.

Saghir looked "frazzled," Singh testified in New Westminster Supreme Court on Monday.

"He knocked on my door," said Singh. "He asked me for help. He looked pale and had scratches on him."

The red scratches, Singh said, looked like "nail marks" and were on Saghir's lower arm and neck.

Singh was testifying Monday (Feb. 4) at the trial of Amjad Khan and Naim Saghir, who are both charged with first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder in the Nov. 20, 2005 death of 21-year-old Tasha Lynn Rossette. This is the second trial for the pair, after a 2011 B.C. Court of Appeal decision overturned their 2008 convictions, granting a re-trial.

Rossette's body was found Nov. 22, 2005 in the entrance of her Surrey home. She had been stabbed dozens of times and her throat was slashed. A single mother of a three-year-old daughter, Rossette was 17 weeks pregnant with a second child when she was murdered.

Singh, now 30, was a mechanic in 2005 and met Khan after working on a couple of his cars. Khan introduced Singh to Saghir and eventually Saghir and Singh became roommates. Singh said while Khan and Saghir dealt drugs, he did not.

Testifying in front of Justice Ian Josephson, Singh said during their friendship he remembered Khan speaking several times about "his headache." Khan told him there was a girl he'd gotten pregnant who didn't want to have an abortion.

"He didn't care how he got rid of it, he just wanted it gone," said Singh. "He didn't want to have a baby. He didn't want to bring down his family name.

"He wanted help to get rid of his headache … from me and Naim."

Singh said on the night Saghir woke him, he said he'd gotten rid of Khan's problem.

"He said the girl fought back and he had to 'slice the bitch's throat'," Singh testified. "Those are words I'll never forget."

He said Saghir then showered and used the washing machine – something he remembered because his landlord complained about the noise the next day.

Singh said he never went to police with what Saghir told him because he didn't know if the girl was killed or just "roughed up" and he also was scared that if the police didn't take him seriously, he could be "the next one killed."

But Saghir's defence lawyer, Simon Buck, questioned Singh's truthfulness.

Singh, in fact, was arrested and accused of murder nearly a year after Rossette's death.

Buck said Singh told police he'd only overheard Khan and Saghir talking about the pregnant girl, and that initially, Singh didn't even tell police that Saghir said he'd slit a girl's throat.

"You deliberately withheld information from police, didn't you?" Buck said, alleging Singh only offered up more details when coerced by RCMP officers. "You felt pressured."

Singh replied he was scared and confused, but that the only pressure he felt was "to tell the truth."

In earlier testimony Monday, Kristin Marrs, a former girlfriend of Khan's, said that in October 2005, she talked to Khan about a woman who said she was pregnant with his child.

"He didn't tell me how he felt, but in talking to him and hearing his voice … he wasn't happy," Marrs said.

When Khan visited her in Nanaimo (where she lived) on Nov. 26, six days after Rossette's death, Marrs asked "out of the blue" what had happened with the situation involving the pregnant girl.

"He told me he had dealt with it," testified Marrs, 32.

She said she last saw Khan Dec. 31, 2005 when she went to meet him at a Nanaimo bar. She arrived to find him kissing a girl and changed her phone number that night.

In May 2006, another friend called Marrs to say police wanted to talk to her about Khan. She testified she phoned Khan to see what it was about and then called police.

However, Khan's defence lawyer Robert Claus pointed to inconsistencies between Marrs' testimony and her police statement. He claimed she told the investigating officer she hadn't spoken to Khan for a week, when she had actually spoken to him the day prior.

"I was prepared to protect myself … I wasn't trying to mislead anyone," Marrs testified.

Claus also alleged Marrs had regular contact with Khan after Dec. 31, 2005, despite her saying she had severed ties – a claim Marrs said she couldn't recall.

Marrs said she dated Khan from May 2004 to summer 2005 and thought he was a drug dealer, but didn't know when he started dealing. She said she introduced her dad to Khan in Nanaimo and the two talked about setting up drug deals on Vancouver Island, but that she was not involved.

Last week, Crown prosecutor Donna Ballyk argued Khan wanted Rossette dead because she wouldn't have an abortion and that he picked her up from bingo and drove her to her home, where Saghir was waiting to kill her.

The trial continues.

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