Toyah Cordingley killing: Rajwinder Singh to be extradited from India to Australia

<span>Photograph: Qld Police/AAP</span>
Photograph: Qld Police/AAP

An Indian court has approved the extradition of Rajwinder Singh, the man accused of murdering Toyah Cordingley on a beach in Queensland, paving the way for him to return to Australia to face trial.

Singh, 38, who is an Australian national of Indian origin, had waived his right to challenge the request by the Australian authorities for him to be extradited to face trial for the killing of Cordingley.

Appearing in a Delhi district court on Tuesday via video link, Singh was informed by Judge Swati Sharma that his extradition to Australia had been allowed by the courts. Singh simply said “thank you” when the extradition was approved.

In a statement given to a Delhi court earlier this month, Singh confirmed that he was aware he would be returning to Australia to face trial for murder and that a conviction in the case carries a life sentence.

The order by the Delhi courts means that Singh, who is currently being held in Delhi’s Tihar jail, could be returned to Australia within two to three weeks, if it is approved quickly by the Indian government.

The Indian foreign ministry has already partially approved his extradition but they need to sign off on the court’s final order, which will be sent to the government this week.

Singh is suspected in the murder of Cordingley, the 24-year-old who was murdered while out walking her dog on Wangetti beach, north of Cairns in Queensland in October 2018, in a case that sent shock waves across the country.

Her body was discovered half-buried in the sand dunes and police said she had been killed in a “personal and intimate attack”.

Singh, a father of three who was working as a nurse in Australia, is said to have boarded a flight to his India soon after the killing, prompting a four-year search by Australian police.

They issued an extradition order for him in 2021 and later an unprecedented $1m reward for his location and arrest.

Indian law enforcement finally tracked down Singh in the capital of Delhi in November.

While extradition cases can often be drawn out for years, particularly in India’s congested courts, Singh’s decision not to contest his extradition to Australia has meant it has moved quickly. Ajay Digpaul, the Indian public prosecutor in the case, confirmed Singh would likely be back in Australia before the end of February.