Toyah Cordingley killing: suspect Rajwinder Singh appears in court for extradition

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

Rajwinder Singh, the man accused of killing Toyah Cordingley on a beach in Queensland, has made his first court appearance in Delhi as authorities seek to extradite him back to Australia to face trial.

Singh, an Australian citizen of Indian origin, was arrested in Delhi last Friday after a years-long manhunt to track him down. Singh is the main accused in the murder of Cordingley, a 24-year-old who was killed while walking her dog on Wangetti beach in far north Queensland in 2018.

Australian authorities have had an extradition order against Singh since 2021, and are seeking to have him sent back as soon as possible. The Indian government approved the extradition request last month, but the case must first be heard before the Indian court.

The hearing at a district court in Delhi on Wednesday afternoon lasted just a few minutes. The judge adjourned the case until 17 December to give Singh’s lawyers time to review documents.

Singh, who wore a blue turban and sported a dishevelled grey beard, made no comment and his face showed little emotion. His father, Amar Singh, who lives in a village in the Indian state of Punjab, was also present in the court.

Queensland police had spent years trying to track down Singh. An unprecedented $1m reward was offered for his whereabouts and he was finally arrested in Delhi and remanded in Tihar jail in the capital.

Speaking outside the Delhi court where the extradition case is being heard, Ajay Digpaul, the prosecutor representing the Indian government, said the case was being heard quickly but it was “too difficult” to give a timeline of how long it could take to extradite Singh.

Digpaul said that evidence to support the request for Singh’s extradition would be presented at the next hearing. “The government of India has reviewed the documents and decided that extradition has to take place,” said Digpaul.

Singh’s lawyer Abdul Gaffar would not confirm if his client would be challenging the extradition order, which could delay the process potentially for years.

Australian federal police were also present at the hearing but said they could not comment as the case was under judicial review.