While the Victoria Police have denied that another arrest has been made in the Gurshan murder case, it has not answered the question how the toddler got ‘unconscious’ before being taken around by Gursewak Dhillon.
A media report had yesterday claimed that Gursewak Dhillon’s wife Simrat Kaur had been arrested for helping her husband dispose of the toddler’s body.
Meanwhile, a report from India says that Gursewak Singh Dhillon was opening a door that accidentally hit Gurshan and then panicked when the child fell unconscious, father of the accused said.
However, the cause of death could not be detected in the autopsy.
Pragat Singh Dhillon had told the Indian media that the toddler’s death resulted from an ”innocent mistake”.
Pragat Singh Dhillon, a retired army captain living near the Punjab city of Jalandhar, said his son had given him an account by telephone of what happened.
”Three days back, Gursewak told me on the phone that as he opened the main door to his residence in Melbourne, which he shared with 12 others, including parents of Gurshan, he hit the boy. He said he could not see from outside that Gurshan was standing next to the door, and the child got hit and fell unconscious,” he told the Indian Express newspaper.
Mr Dhillon said Gursewak told him he shook Gurshan to try to wake him up, but the child didn’t respond. ”He then called out to Gurshan’s mother, who was taking a bath, and his own wife, Simrat Kaur, who was in the kitchen at the time, but both couldn’t hear his calls. He then put the child in his car to take him to hospital,” he told the Indian Express.
”Gursewak said, on the way, his car fuel finished and he got it filled, and then it seemed to him that the child may be dead. It frightened him, and afraid of being charged with murder, he dumped the child.”
Mr Dhillon claimed his son was afraid that nobody would believe his story. If Gursewak had had the courage to admit his mistake, instead of hiding it, he would ”not be in such deep trouble”, the Indian Express reported Mr Dhillon as saying.
Earlier, Gursewak Dhillon, had admitted disposing of the body but denied deliberately injuring the child. He told police the boy was accidentally knocked unconscious on Thursday at the house in David Street, Lalor, where he had been staying.
Dhillon has claimed he panicked and put the unconscious boy in the boot of a car, drove for about three hours and dumped the body 20 kilometres away in Oaklands Junction without checking if the three-year-old was alive. An autopsy has failed to find a cause of death and there were no signs of life-threatening injuries.
Police say that if Dhillon’s version of events is true, it is probable that Gurshan would have recovered from the accident if he had not been trapped in a car boot for hours. Police have seized the Commodore sedan Dhillon said he used on the day. Forensic experts will test the car to see if the boy could have suffocated in the boot or could have died through carbon monoxide poisoning from a faulty exhaust.
Meanwhile, hearing in the case against Dhillon has been adjourned till June 29th . The hearing in the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday morning lasted only one minute as the prosecution wanted some time to prepare the case and collect more evidence againt Dhillon.
Earlier, Detective Senior Sergeant Ron Iddles of the homicide squad said Dhillon lived at the same address in David Street, Lalor as three-year-old Gurshan, his parents and six others.
Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said Dhillon ‘‘placed the child in the boot of his car unconscious but still alive’’.‘‘He then drove up to at least three hours with the child in the boot of the car, eventually stopping at Oaklands Junction, where he placed the child from the boot into the grass and did not check to see if the child was alive, then returned to 28 David Street, Lalor,’’ Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said.
Dhillon was arrested at a friend’s house in Mill Park, in Melbourne’s north, at 10am today.
Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles gave no evidence about how the little boy came to be unconscious.
Dhillon appeared before the hearing dressed in a white polo shirt, black tracksuit pants and brown thongs and appeared calm throughout the hearing, referring to the dead boy at one stage as ‘‘the kid … the kid that died’’ when asked who lived with him at the David Street address.
Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said police opposed bail because Dhillon had few ties to Australia and was under investigation by immigration officials over allegations his passport may be false.
Dhillon, a part-time taxi driver who just bought a small truck and was due to start full-time work with a courier company on Wednesday, lives in Lalor with his wife. He has a daughter in his native India.
Dhillon applied for bail, offering to leave his passport and driver’s licence with police and initially telling the bail justice he could stay at the Mill Park house where he was arrested.
But Detective Senior Sergeant Iddles said police had spoken with the man’s friend and were told that ‘‘because of the events that transpired today he (Dhillon) is no longer welcome there’’.
Dhillon then gave the phone number of another friend, a man with whom he plays cricket and who lives in nearby Epping.
He said his friend would be happy to take him in as long as the media was kept away from the man’s house.
First bail justice Ben Czerniewicz, then homicide squad Detective Inspector Steve Clark tried the number, but found it to be out of service.
Mr Czerniewicz then remanded Dhillon in custody amid concerns that he posed an unacceptable flight risk and could also tamper with witnesses in the case.
Dhillon is due to appear in the Melbourne Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday.
Gurshan’s body was discovered by a council worker in St John Road, Oaklands Junction just before 7pm, around six hours after he disappeared from a Lalor house 20 kilometres away that his parents shared with up to 11 other people.