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

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

Just Posted

In a letter to Fraser Health board chair Jim Sinclair and president and CEO Dr. Victoria Lee Jan. 28, Delta Mayor George Harvie pitched the City of Delta become the lease holder of the Harold and Veronica Savage Centre for Supportive Care building after it is vacated by the Delta Hospice Society. (The Canadian Press photo)
Delta Hospice Society must vacate premises by March 29: Fraser Health

The health authority served the society a notice of breach of lease on Feb. 25

RCMP are looking for “an unknown man who wrapped his arms around” a female youth in Clayton Feb. 26. (Black Press file photo)
Youth assaulted by unknown man in Cloverdale

Mounties looking for ‘tall and thin’ Caucasian man in his 40’s with short dark brown hair

St. John Ambulance is looking for financial support in its bid to install 1,000 publicly accessible AED devices throughout British Columbia. The stands which hold the defibrillator also contain naloxone and first aid kits. Cost to equip and install each stand is around $8,000. (stock photo)
St. John Ambulance aims to install 1,000 publicly accessible AEDs across B.C.

First of two defibrillators planned for Crescent Beach already in place

Framed photos of Travis Selje and other items fill the top of a dresser in his bedroom. (Photo: Tom Zillich)
Crown says defence case epilepsy caused fatal Surrey crash fails on balance of probabilities

‘She very clearly had some form of control over that vehicle,’ Crown argues

Alex Browne photo The felling of two mature Douglas Fir ‘eagle trees’ on Oxford Street, just south of Prospect Avenue, in June of 2019, prompted a review of tree management bylaws and policies now before White Rock council. The trees were felled on instructions from City of White Rock staff, who said the work was necessary because they had become hazardous. (File photo)
City of White Rock mulls ‘tree protection’ bylaw

More stringent measures needed to protect canopy – councillor

Pig races at the 145th annual Chilliwack Fair on Aug. 12, 2017. Monday, March 1, 2021 is Pig Day. (Jenna Hauck/ Chilliwack Progress file)
Unofficial holidays: Here’s what people are celebrating for the week of Feb. 28 to March 6

Pig Day, Canadian Bacon Day and Grammar Day are all coming up this week

Staff from the Marine Mammal Rescue Centre, passersby, RCMP and Nanaimo Fire Rescue carried a sick 300-kilogram steller sea lion up the steep bluff at Invermere Beach in north Nanaimo in an attempt to save the animal’s life Thursday. (Photo courtesy Marine Mammal Rescue Centre)
300-kilogram sea lion muscled up from B.C. beach in rescue attempt

Animal dies despite efforts of Nanaimo marine mammal rescue team, emergency personnel and bystanders

Kara Sorensen, diagnosed with lung cancer in July, says it’s important for people to view her as healthy and vibrant, rather than sick. (Photo courtesy of Karen Sorensen)
B.C. woman must seek treatment overseas for inoperable lung cancer

Fundraising page launched on Karen Sorensen’s behalf, with a goal of $250,000

Gina Adams as she works on her latest piece titled ‘Undying Love’. (Submitted photo)
‘Toothless’ the kitty inspires B.C. wood carver to break out the chainsaw

Inspired by plight of a toothless cat, Gina Adams offers proceeds from her artwork to help animals

B.C. Finance Minister Selina Robinson presents bill to delay B.C.’s budget as late as April 30, and allow further spending before that, B.C. legislature, Dec. 8, 2020. (Hansard TV)
How big is B.C.’s COVID-19 deficit? We’ll find out April 20

More borrowing expected as pandemic enters second year

Passengers aboard Komagata Maru in Vancouver’s Burrard Inlet, 1914 - Library and Archives Canada image
Abbotsford council is asked to rename street in memory of Komagata Maru victims

Most of 376 the passengers aboard ship were denied entry into Canada in 1914

The first of 11 Dash 8 Q400 aircraft's have arrived in Abbotsford. Conair Group Inc. will soon transform them into firefighting airtankers. (Submitted)
Abbotsford’s Conair begins airtanker transformation

Aerial firefighting company creating Q400AT airtanker in advance of local forest fire season

The Canada Revenue Agency says there were 32 tax fraud convictions across the country between April 2019 and March 2020. (Pixabay)
Vancouver man sentenced to 29 months, fined $645K for tax evasion, forgery

Michael Sholz reportedly forged documents to support ineligible tax credits linked to homeownership

Then-Liberal leader Andrew Wilkinson looks on as MLA Shirley Bond answers questions during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria. (Chad Hipolito / THE CANADIAN PRESS)
B.C. Liberal party to choose next leader in February 2022

Candidates have until Nov. 30 to declare whether they are running

Most Read