Four years on from the killing of Queensland woman Toyah Cordingley, a man has been charged with her murder just hours after his return to Cairns.
Rajwinder Singh touched down in far north Queensland aboard a privately chartered jet on Thursday after spending his first night in Australia behind bars following his extradition from India.
Ms Cordingley’s body was found by her father partially buried in the white sand of Wangetti Beach in October 2018.
Police confirmed in a statement on Thursday evening that Singh had been charged with one count of murder and is expected to appear in the Cairns Magistrates Court on Friday.
Detective Inspector Sonia Smith said on Thursday that the killing of Ms Cordingley had a significant impact on the Cairns community and her family and friends were still dealing with the loss.
“Now that the matter is before the court, I’d ask that the community not speculate and allow the justice process to be undertaken.”
Singh is unlikely to be able to make any immediate bail application due to the seriousness of the murder charge.
Toyah’s father Troy Cordingley said in a statement read by Detective Inspector Smith that he would continue to stay as strong as he could “until we reach some sort of justice for my beautiful girl, for Toyah”.
The 24-year-old’s mother Vanessa Gardiner thanked police and the community in a statement, which was also read by the detective inspector.
“We thank the community for their ongoing love and support throughout these difficult times. Now we wait patiently for the justice our beautiful daughter Toyah deserves,” Ms Gardiner wrote.
Mr Singh flew to India not long after Ms Cordingley’s remains were found, and he was extradited from Victoria to Queensland one day after he arrived in Australia on a flight from New Delhi.
The 38-year-old former nurse appeared calm as he stepped off the plane in handcuffs at the Queensland government air base in Cairns on Thursday afternoon.
Flanked by four suited detectives, Mr Singh wore grey tracksuit pants, a black tracksuit top and a navy Sikh turban as he was led across the tarmac in 32-degree heat.
He was ushered into the back of a police four-wheel drive and taken to Cairns Police Station.
Detective Inspector Smith said she was “relieved” that Queensland police relationships with their federal and international counterparts had resulted in the extradition.
“We put trust in the Australian Federal Police, trust in the individual AFP officers that were on the ground in New Delhi – they certainly did not disappoint us.
“We, obviously faced many challenges during the four-year investigation, and we are very grateful to be at this point today,” she added.