Tosha Thakkar ”“ a sad end to a young life

A young woman whose dismembered body was stuffed inside a suitcase and dumped in a waterway lived next door to her alleged killer.

The body of Tosha Thakkar, 24, was found on the morning of Friday March 11, two days after her neighbour Daniel Stani-Reginald, 19, allegedly raped and murdered her.

Police said Ms Thakkar, an Indian national who had been in Sydney for three years studying at university, was killed on Wednesday morning.

Her body was dismembered, shoved in a suitcase, and dumped later that day in a canal at Meadowbank.

Stani-Reginald made a brief appearance in Parramatta Court yesterday, where he was formally refused bail.

Police allege he and Ms Thakkar were neighbours in Edwin St, Croydon.

It is alleged Stani-Reginald raped Ms Thakkar in aggravated circumstances before she was murdered. An interim post-mortem examination was unable to determine how Ms Thakkar died.

Construction workers connecting an oil line in Meadowbank Park found Ms Thakkar’s body when they saw a suitcase floating in shallow water.

Stani-Reginald was arrested on Friday night, within hours of Ms Thakkar’s body being discovered.

At court yesterday, dozens of Ms Thakkar’s friends and classmates were forced to crouch on the floor while Stani-Reginald’s case was briefly heard.

Outside the court, friends described her as a “lovely, beautiful girl” who enjoyed her accounting studies at Southern Cross University.

Several young men took posters to the court, including one which read: “We want justice for our Indian international friend Tosha Thakkar.”

Ms Thakkar had lived in Croydon since she moved to Sydney in 2007.

A shopkeeper said Ms Thakkar was a “quiet girl with a lovely smile”.

“I’d see her go past from time to time … always smiling and polite,” he said.

Mr Stani-Reginald, an Australian of Sri Lankan descent, was to face Burwood Local Court

and chose not to appear in court and did not apply for bail.

He is expected to face court again on May 9.

The Australian High Commission said it extended its sincere condolences to the family and friends of Ms Thakkar.

Australia’s high commissioner to India, Peter N. Varghese, sent a personal message of condolence to Mr Thakkar and also spoke to the Thakkar family, a statement said.

“The Australian police have acted quickly – they arrested a suspect on Friday, the same day as the discovery of the victim’s body,” it said.

“This brutal killing will shock Australians. The police are determined that the perpetrator will be brought to justice.

“There is no indication that this awful crime was racially motivated,” Mr Varghese said.

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