Rama Gauravarapu was killed in her West Kelowna hotel room on July, 22, 2018. (Contributed)

Rama Gauravarapu was killed in her West Kelowna hotel room on July, 22, 2018. (Contributed)

Surrey man handed life sentence for West Kelowna murder of common-law partner

‘This was a brutal, tragic and senseless killing,’ said Justice Allison Beames

Tejwant Danjou was reduced to tears on Monday (Sept. 14) afternoon as he was sentenced to life in prison with no chance of parole for 12 years in the murder of his common-law partner, Rama Gauravarapu.

The former Surrey real estate agent was convicted of second-degree murder last month for bludgeoning Gauravarapu to death with a wine bottle in a West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018, while the two were on vacation in the area.

Crown sought parole ineligibility for a 13-to-14-year term, while Danjou’s defence called for the mandatory minimum 10-year term. Ultimately, Justice Allison Beames split the difference between the two suggestions, opting for 12 years of parole ineligibility.

“This was a brutal, tragic and senseless killing,” Beames said as she delivered her verdict.

“By all accounts, Rama Gauravarapu was a much-loved and respected mother, family member, friend and colleague.”

READ MORE: Surrey man found guilty in West Kelowna killing of common-law spouse

READ MORE: Surrey couple had abusive relationship prior to woman’s West Kelowna murder

While giving her submissions, Crown counsel Simone McCallum told the court of Danjou’s “prolonged” and “horrible” assault on Gauravarapu that ended her life. The onslaught caused 52 separate areas of injury, mostly to Gauravarapu’s head and neck. The cause of death was listed as blunt force trauma.

“It’s no stretch to call this a brutal attack,” McCallum told Beames.

Danjou’s defence lawyer, Donna Turko, offered to the court a letter of support penned by one of his daughters — who cannot be named due to a publication ban — on behalf of his family, which caused Danjou to break into silent sobs.

“This tragedy has been felt deeply by all of us and we are concerned for his future,” she wrote, describing him as a kind and honourable man.

“He’s a selfless man who always put the needs of others before his own without ever expecting anything in return.”

READ MORE: Surrey man accused of West Kelowna murder ‘shocked’ when told he was being investigated

READ MORE: Eyewitness recalls seeing altercation between Surrey couple prior to woman’s murder

When asked if he had anything to say, Danjou started by offering that his daughter’s letter was “too much” while continuing to dab tears from his eyes.

“It’s ironic that I had to come to jail to find peace,” he said. “Incarceration of two years actually helped me immensely… I lead a life full of bliss in the jail and I am constantly in harmony with the present moment.”

Turko added that Danjou has reconnected with his Buddhist faith during his time in prison and has been a model prisoner — even earning the title of “Pod Father” from his fellow inmates at Okanagan Correctional Centre.

None of Gauravarapu’s family, who was present through most of the trial, was in attendance for the sentencing.

Danjou will spend the first two years of his sentence at the maximum-security Kent Institution in Agassiz, according to his defence lawyer. He will become eligible for parole in 2030.

Do you have something to add to this story, or something else we should report on? Email: michael.rodriguez@kelownacapnews.com


@michaelrdrguez
Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

murder trial

Just Posted

(Photo: Tom Zytaruk)
Surrey council moves to reduce parking along rapid transit corridors

This also targets rental housing developments in Rapid Transit Areas

Elgin Park Secondary students rally for climate change outside of their South Surrey in 2019. (Nick Greenizan photo)
City of Surrey set to host online climate-action panel

June 23 Zoom event to include speakers, question-and-answer period

TEASER PHOTO ONLY
Surrey singer soars into Searchlight song contest’s top 10 with ‘It Doesn’t Matter’

Argel Monte de Ramos is among ‘popular vote’ finalists, with winner to be announced June 22

West Coast Duty Free president Gary Holowaychuk stands next to empty shelves inside his store on Tuesday (June 15). (Aaron Hinks photo)
Revenue down 97% at South Surrey duty free as owner waits for U.S. border to reopen

Products approaching best before dates had to be donated, others destroyed

Cover of the 32-page Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers, created and compiled by Jeska Slater.
New ‘Surrey First Peoples Guide for Newcomers’ seeks to ‘uplift and amplify’ voices

32-page guide launched Tuesday by Surrey Local Immigration Partnership (LIP)

Maxwell Johnson is seen in Bella Bella, B.C., in an undated photo. The Indigenous man from British Columbia has filed complaints with the B.C. Human Rights Tribunal and the Canadian Human Rights Commission after he and his granddaughter were handcuffed when they tried to open a bank account. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO-Heiltsuk Nation, Damien Gillis, *MANDATORY CREDIT*
VIDEO: Chiefs join human rights case of Indigenous man handcuffed by police in B.C. bank

Maxwell Johnson said he wants change, not just words, from Vancouver police

For more than a year, Rene Doyharcabal and a small group of neighbours in Langley’s Brookswood neighbourhood have been going out every evening to show support for first responders by honking horns and banging pots and drums. Now, a neighbour has filed a noise complaint. (Langley Advance Times file)
Noise complaint filed against nightly show of support for health care workers in B.C. city

Langley Township contacted group to advise of complaint, but no immediate action is expected

Raeya Evie Duncan was the 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital for the month of May. She is seen here with her parents Alysha Williams and Andrew Duncan on June 12, 2021. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress)
Baby boom in Chilliwack as record number of infants born at CGH in May

‘COVID babies are coming out,’ says dad of 100th baby born at Chilliwack General Hospital last month

Cannabis bought in British Columbia (Ashley Wadhwani/Black Press Media)
Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

A nurse prepares a shot of the COVID-19 vaccine at the Yukon Convention Centre in Whitehorse on Wednesday, March 3, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Mike Thomas
Vancouver couple pleads guilty to breaking Yukon COVID rules, travelling for vaccine

Chief Judge Michael Cozens agreed with a joint sentencing submission,

An inmate in solitary confinement given lunch on Tuesday, May 10, 2016. THE CANADIAN/Lars Hagberg
22-hour cap on solitary confinement for youth in custody still too long: B.C. lawyer

Jennifer Metcalfe was horrified to hear a youth had spent a total of 78 straight days in isolation

The Abbotsford International Airshow is back for 2021 with the ‘SkyDrive’ concept.
Abbotsford International Airshow returns for 2021 with ‘SkyDrive’

New format features a drive-in movie type experience, show set for Aug. 6 to 8

People line up to get their COVID-19 vaccine at a vaccination centre, Thursday, June 10, 2021 in Montreal. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Ryan Remiorz
Vaccines, low COVID case counts increase Father’s Day hope, but risk is still there

Expert says people will have to do their own risk calculus before popping in on Papa

B.C. Premier John Horgan listens as Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents the province’s latest budget, April 20, 2021. The budget projects $19 billion in deficits over three years. (Hansard TV)
B.C. government budget balloons, beyond COVID-19 response

Provincial payroll up 104,000 positions, $10 billion since 2017

Most Read