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Man arrested in India over alleged murder of Queensland woman

The suspect in the alleged murder of Queensland woman Toyah Cordingley has been arrested in India, but there is a long process ahead before he faces an Australian court.

The body of 24-year-old Cordingley was found by her father Troy in sand dunes on Wangetti Beach, north of Cairns, in October 2018.

Rajwinder Singh, a nurse in Innisfail who boarded a plane for India days after she was killed, had been identified by police as the main suspect in the case.

On October 21, the body of Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley was found on the remote Wangetti Beach.
On October 21, the body of Cairns woman Toyah Cordingley was found on the remote Wangetti Beach. (Supplied)

“We are so thrilled to announce that the suspect in Toyah Cordingley’s murder has been arrested in India,” Commission Katarina Carroll said.

“This day has been a long time coming,” she added.

The suspect had been hiding out in the Punjab region, and will face a court in India before being extradited to Australia.

Commissioner Carroll described the years-long investigation as “intense and comprehensive” and said it was a joint operation between local and international authorities.

Police Minister Mark Ryan said while the development was promising, “this is very early days in this next step of delivering justice for Toyah”.

Federal Attorney-General Mark Dreyfus released a statement saying extraditing Singh was a “high priority” for the Commonwealth.

“I can confirm that Rajwinder Singh has been arrested today in India following Australia’s extradition request,” Dreyfus said.

Toyah Cordingley
Toyah Cordingley (Nine)

“Mr Singh is wanted to face prosecution in Queensland in relation to the murder of Toyah Cordingley in 2018.

“This matter is a high priority for the Australian government, and Australian agencies continue to work closely with Indian authorities to pursue Mr Singh’s extradition to Australia, to enable him to face justice.

“I acknowledge the work of the Queensland Police, Australian Federal Police, the Attorney-General’s Department as well as the Indian authorities in this matter.”

Dreyfus said it would not be appropriate to comment further given the matter is before the courts in India.

Rajwinder Singh left Australia on October 23, 2018.
Rajwinder Singh left Australia on October 23, 2018. (Queensland Police)

In the four years since Cordingley’s death, her father Troy and the 24-year-old’s mother Vanessa Gardiner have been making appeals to find the person who allegedly killed the “beautiful and spiritual” woman since then.

Australian authorities worked with the Indian government to secure an extradition order for Singh and travelled there to focus on getting an arrest.

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