A drug dealer wanted in the US of the brutal murders of his wife and mother-in-law killed himself, a jury ruled on Tuesday.

Lovkesh Kumar, 42, was found hanged in his cell at Wandsworth Prison on September 6, 2014 while facing an extradition fight to America over the double murder.

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He had been serving a 33-month prison sentence for dealing cocaine and heroin.

He spent more than 10 years on the run and was found hanged in his British prison cell just days after his real identity was finally discovered, an inquest heard. 

Kumar featured on America's Most Wanted but fled to the UK under a false name Sarbjit Singh in 2004.

Kumar was known under his alias Singh by UK authorities, including the prison service and police.

But his past finally began to catch up with him while serving time behind bars for drug dealing offences, the inquest heard. 

After a tip-off to Interpol, Kumar was taken from Highpoint jail in Suffolk to Westminster Magistrates' Court facing extradition to the US over the murders of his 23-year-old wife Pooja and her mother Nirja in California. 

He was then transferred to HMP Wandsworth, Westminster Coroner's Court, sitting at the High Court, was told. 

Subsequent fingerprint analysis confirmed that he was Kumar, and he confirmed to a police officer that Kumar was his real name. 

He was found hanging in his cell at Wandsworth jail just three days after appearing at Westminster Magistrates' Court.

He was accused of stabbing his wife and mother-in-law to death at the family home in California, before cutting up their bodies with a butcher's knife in January 2003 before fleeing the States. 

In a statement read to the inquest, prison officer Tom Carter said: "He was moved up to that cell and was content to my knowledge and never had any problems with his cell mate. 

"He is pretty quiet. He very rarely left the cell. He would usually be in bed which would be the predominant time I would see him. I am usually in the office. 

"He never gave me the impression he was scared. He was calm in response. He never struck me as a man who was frightened, I would say." 

Kirsten Ross, a primary care nurse at Wandsworth prison, said she attempted to save Kumar. 

In a statement read to the hearing, she said: "I do not think that there was anything else at that immediate time that could have been done." 

A police investigation at the time ruled out any third party involvement. 

At the inquest at Westminster Coroner's Court, sitting at the High Court, a jury ruled he was actually Kumar and returned a verdict of suicide.


Coroner Bernard Richmond QC had asked them to choose between Kumar or Singh.

In his summing up, he told them: "You make your decisions as to the facts. The answer is for you, and you alone.

"You have to decide what the appropriate conclusion is to be reached, and you have to answer the questions required of you by law.

"You have to decide firstly what the name of the deceased was. Now normally that is not a problem because normally we know, and there is no doubt.

"But in this case there is a bit of a problem because it seems, unfortunately, that Mr Singh - or Mr Kumar - was not an entirely well behaved individual.

"It seems that he was somebody who potentially used a number of aliases.

"Ultimately, as a matter of law, I have decided that there are two possible names on the evidence which you will properly consider."

He added: "Lovkesh Kumar is a name that there is evidence you can rely on as well because we know that he had a driving licence that he was using in America.

"And that is the name he plainly was known to the authorities.

"We think his place of birth is India."

Kumar had applied for political asylum in the US.