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'Call 911' West Kelowna crime victim said

Kelowna Law Courts
March 03, 2020 - 12:32 PM

Covered in blood and laying on the floor of the West Kelowna Best Western hotel room she'd been staying in, Rama Gauravarapu had a chance to ask for help and she took it. 

Sgt. Justin Abels told the court today, March 3, on day two of the second degree murder trial for Tejwant Danjou, a hotel employee told him she had knocked at the door of the hotel suite after a disturbance.

At first, Danjou told her to go away, with a little more persistence on her part, he opened the door wide enough she could see in the room.

"He opened the door and (Danjou) was standing there in (what she thought was) blood or wine and she saw a female on the floor who asked her to call 911," he said.

She did and police arrived soon after.

By then, however, Danjou was gone, Abels said, and he was told by another officer that Gauravarapu was "gurgling and unresponsive."

Abels asked that the ambulance and they speed up their response.

His focus, however, was not on Gauravarapu's condition. He'd been tasked with identifying the victim and the person she'd been with and he did so with her ID and a Polaroid photo of the couple.

Then the search got underway. In an adjacent room also rented by Danjou there was a suitcase on the bed and wine bottles on the floor — the pair had been at Mission Hill winery earlier in the day — but no sign of Danjou.

They followed a blood trail from the room out of the hotel's emergency door.

Const. Rick Goodwin had been called in at that time and told the court that after a quick search of the area, he'd been told by another officer that Danjou was located in a nearby dumpster and he drove up to the scene.

When he arrived he "saw the top half of Danjou in the dumpster," Goodwin said, adding that he lifted Danjou from the dumpster and, at some point shortly thereafter, he arrested  him for homicide.

In a tape played for the court, Goodwin can be heard saying, "I'm putting you under arrest for homicide, can you answer yes or no?"

"Maybe," Danjou said. "What is homicide?"

Goodwin explains the charge further and reads Danjou his rights. He turns down the opportunity to speak to a lawyer.

Danjou then requests that he be taken to the hospital because his "heart is beating very fast."

He also said that his right thigh and hands were hurting, potentially from his interaction with the police dog who went into the dumpster after him.

"I think he bit me, but that's OK, he's a dog," he said.

He also was concerned that there was something in his ear.

Goodwin told him that it was likely grass but there was some dried blood on his head.

"It's blood?" Danjou said. "How is there blood in my head ... did somebody hit me?"

A short time later, a paramedic came by and their interaction with Danjou was also recorded.

Danjou was eventually taken the hospital.

In testimony from March 3, day two of the trial, Crown counsel called Dr. Jeffrey Eppler, an emergency physician at Kelowna General Hospital, to testify.

He said when Danjou came into the emergency ward he had a dog bite and was experiencing chest pains.

Following blood work, two slight abnormalities were found. One indicated heart and muscle cell death and the other was a sign of physical exertion.

The latter was dealt with fluid and rest. The other was of concern because it could have indicated a heart attack was in the offing. It, in the end, resolved itself also.

Dr. Eppler did take note of Danjou’s demeanour, and noted that he was subdued, offered limited eye contact and restricted his answers to questions to simple “Yes” and “nos.”

The trial is scheduled for three weeks and will continue later this afternoon.

On its original start date, Danjou pleaded guilty to second degree murder. Once he was told that the charge involved the intent to kill his partner, however, he had a change of heart and applied to withdraw his plea.

That was approved and the trial got underway again.

To contact a reporter for this story, email Kathy Michaels or call 250-718-0428 or email the editor. You can also submit photos, videos or news tips to the newsroom and be entered to win a monthly prize draw.

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