Sydney dentist Preethi Reddy was murdered by her ex-boyfriend in the bathroom of a city hotel before he attempted to conceal the “heinous act”, a NSW coroner has found.
The 32-year-old’s family reported her missing after she failed to return from a dental conference in St Leonards in March 2019.
Two days later, a suitcase containing her body was found inside a car in Sydney’s east.
On Wednesday, deputy state coroner Carmel Forbes found Dr Reddy died from the combined effects of blunt force head injuries and stab wounds to the neck and back, inflicted by her ex-boyfriend Harsh Narde.
Narde, also a dentist, had spent time with Dr Reddy at the conference before later having dinner with her.
Magistrate Forbes said there was evidence Dr Reddy was trying to be “compassionate and understanding” in attempting to give him closure on their ended relationship.
Dr Reddy had met a new partner and was planning to move to Melbourne.
The inquest heard Narde bought a suitcase, rubbish bags, cleaning supplies and towels while staying at the five-star Swissotel on Market Street.
Dr Reddy’s blood was found in a bathroom of the hotel.
A day before Dr Reddy’s body was found, Narde deliberately drove into the path of a semi trailer on the New England Highway at Willow Tree, causing a fiery crash and dying at the scene.
“I am satisfied that Dr Narde took her life in the bathroom of the hotel room some time after her last call … to her new partner,” Magistrate Forbes said.
“Dr Narde’s subsequent actions to that time are consistent with him attempting to conceal his heinous act.
“The circumstances of Dr Reddy’s death are truly tragic and horrifying.”
Magistrate Forbes said women were far too often killed by their current or former partners and the case would be referred to the NSW Domestic Violence Death Review Team.
Narde was interviewed by detectives early in the investigation and was observed to be “unsettled, flustered and worried”.
The owner of the Crows Nest restaurant where Dr Reddy and Narde had dinner said there was no happiness or laughter between the pair.
CCTV footage from a car park later showed at one point Narde may have extended both arms towards Dr Reddy before she took a few steps backwards.
When contacted by Dr Reddy’s sister Nithya, Narde lied about when she was last seen.
One of the last images recorded of Dr Reddy was on CCTV at McDonald’s on George Street in the Sydney CBD, where she lined up to buy bottles of water early in the morning after the conference.
Following Dr Reddy’s death, her relatives spoke about a lack of integrated and long-term services to help women in abusive relationships.
In March, Nithya Reddy posted a tribute to her sister and “staunchest believer” on social media to mark one year since her death.
“Wherever you are Preeths, I’m never going to stop loving you and I’m never going to stop talking about the incredible person you are,” she wrote.
“I’m so lucky that I got 30 years of having you as a big sister, you taught me so, so much about life and love.
“At such a young age, you got so much right about the important things in life.”
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