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in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna

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It was intended to be a nice weekend getaway of wine touring in the Okanagan.

Instead, it ended in murder in Room 205 of the Best Western Plus Wine Country Hotel in West Kelowna.

The Tejwant Danjou murder case keeps serving up surprises.

After flabbergasting his defence lawyer, the Crown prosecutor and the judge on Tuesday with a spontaneous guilty plea, Danjou tried to backtrack on Wednesday.

On Friday, in B.C. Supreme Court in Kelowna, Danjou had his three-day-old guilty plea officially withdrawn.

He then pleaded not guilty to the charge of second-degree murder of his common-law wife Rama Gauravarapu in the West Kelowna hotel room on July 22, 2018.

After the flip-flop, and in unusual swiftness for a court case, Danjou’s murder trial by judge alone started immediately, without even the traditional 15-minute break.

The rapid-fire series of events left Danjou, 70, unperturbed.

He sat calmly in the prisoner’s box of Courtroom 1 in jail-issue red sweatshirt and sweatpants with his arms crossed.

At issue with Danjou’s guilty plea Tuesday was that the followup paperwork included the phrase “intent to kill.” Danjou maintains he did not intend to murder Gauravarapu.

Danjou’s lawyer, Donna Turko, clarified in court Friday that earlier in the week he “wanted to admit to the killing part, but not the intent to kill part.”

A conviction of second-degree murder carries a life sentence, with the earliest chance of parole 10 years into the sentence.

The Crown prosecutor kicked off the trial with an account of events on July 21 and 22, 2018.

The court heard that on July 21, Danjou and Gauravarapu, who was around 55 years old, travelled from the home they had been sharing in Surrey for three years to West Kelowna and checked into the Best Western.

On July 22, they visited Mission Hill Winery, where they had an argument.

They returned to the hotel separately.

Danjou moved out of the shared hotel room, and Gauravarapu told him they would be travelling back to Surrey separately.

What happened next is what the Crown called an assault inside the hotel room in which Danjou intended to cause death with the injuries he inflicted.

The Crown said the motive was a troubled relationship in which Danjou is accused of jealousy and drinking.

The Crown put together the timeline and circumstances with the help of closed-circuit TV footage from the Best Western and Mission Hill, analysis of Danjou’s and Gauravarapu’s cellphones, Danjou’s signed admissions, crime-scene DNA evidence, toxicology, and pathologist and police reports.

Const. Lyndsey Schwindt of the West Kelowna RCMP was the first witness called by the Crown.

She recounted the evening of July 22, starting with the dispatch call to Room 205 of the Best Western at 7:14 p.m. for a possible domestic dispute.

Lyndsey and two other officers arrived at the hotel a couple of minutes later and were let into the room by a hotel staffer.

There was blood splatter on the exterior of the door, and when the door was open they could see an Indo-Canadian woman lying on her back on a blood-saturated patch of carpet with a swollen face, two black eyes, a gash over her left eyebrow, bloodied hands and gashes on both side of her neck.

Also on the floor was a broken wine bottle and broken glass.

The police put in an emergency call for an ambulance and one of the officers started first aid on the victim, who appeared unconscious but was still breathing with a gurgling-snoring sound.

Gauravarapu died shortly after.

Police and a police dog caught up with Danjou soon after outside the hotel and arrested him.

He’s been in custody since his arrest.

Danjou was a real estate agent in Surrey with Sutton Group.

Gauravarapu was a financial planner who worked at a Royal Bank branch in Surrey.

The trial continues Monday.

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