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Indian rickshaw driver fatally stabs American wife, kills self

Published Feb 22, 2014 01:14pm
In this picture, the burnt  house of Bunty Sharma, 32, an auto rickshaw driver, is seen, in Agra, India. — Photo by AP
In this picture, the burnt house of Bunty Sharma, 32, an auto rickshaw driver, is seen, in Agra, India. — Photo by AP
This undated photo provided by local police, shows Indian man Bunty Sharma and his American wife Erin W. Willinger in Agra, India. — Photo by AP
This undated photo provided by local police, shows Indian man Bunty Sharma and his American wife Erin W. Willinger in Agra, India. — Photo by AP
Indian policemen investigate an auto rickshaw of  Bunty Sharma, 32, outside his house, in Agra, India. — Photo by AP
Indian policemen investigate an auto rickshaw of Bunty Sharma, 32, outside his house, in Agra, India. — Photo by AP

AGRA: An Indian rickshaw driver stabbed his American wife to death before setting himself ablaze, police said Saturday, in a violent end to a whirlwind romance scripted in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

Bunty Sharma, 32, killed 35-year-old Arian Willingar from Pennsylvania on a deserted roadside in the tourist city of Agra after the couple had a fight late Thursday, senior police officer Shalabh Mathur told AFP.

Sharma later committed suicide by setting himself on fire, he said.

The couple first met when Willingar visited Agra last July with her friends to see the Taj Mahal, the world famous monument of love. Romance blossomed, they got married and began living together but soon had a falling out over suspicions of infidelity.

Sharma accused her “of smoking too much, talking to other men and not staying at home”, the Indian Express reported.

The US embassy in New Delhi refused to comment on the case but Mathur cited embassy officials as saying that they had informed the victim's family about her death.

“We are preserving the body of the victim until further instructions from the embassy,” Mathur said.

The case grabbed headlines Saturday with local newspapers offering details of their Bollywood-style romance.

At the end of her July trip, Willingar stayed back as her friends returned home and married Sharma in a ceremony held on the rooftop of a hotel located in the backdrop of the Taj Mahal.

But the romance soon fizzled out and the couple began living separately in December, reports said.

The Times of India featured a black-and-white mugshot of the couple on its front-page, showing Willingar dressed as a traditional Indian bride.