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The family of Harjit Chaggar have told a court of the attempts they made to find her after she went missing while out shopping in Chatham.
Mrs Chaggar, 69, disappeared on September 2 after visiting shops in Luton Road.
Her body was found 12 days later in a space under a hatch in the basement storeroom in the Sani Globe grocery shop.
Three people who worked at the shop, Abdul Hannan, Mohammad Islam and Murshed Miah,
all deny murdering Mrs Chaggar.
They, and another member of staff, Rasad Miah, also deny preventing the lawful burial or cremation of Mrs Chaggar.
Her son Kuldish Chaggar told Canterbury Crown Court that on September 4 he went to the
Sani Globe shop and spoke to Hannan, who told him that he knew his mother and had seen
her on September 2.
“He said he saw her looking in the window but she did not come in the shop,” Mr Chaggar
Rebecca Trowler, defending Hannan, said he did not accept that version of events because
he had not been in the shop on September 4.
“I suggest that the earliest you spoke to Hannan was the afternoon of the following day,” she said.
“I also suggest that he said your mother did come into the shop on September 2.”
Mr Chaggar said this was not true and said he did not have a conversation with Hannan
about rice or anything else.
Ms Trowler said: “Because of the terrible stress you were under at the time did you misrecall
some of the detail of the conversation with Hannan?”
Mr Chaggar said he had not. “The events of that week are quite clear in my mind,” he said.
“I have gone over those events and those of the previous week because I keep on wondering if I could have done anything to prevent this happening.”
Bobbie Cheema, prosecuting, asked Mr Chaggar about the filmed reconstruction of his
mother’s last movements in which he retraced her steps.
He visited the Altaf Halal shop in Luton Road and went inside but did not go inside Sani Globe.
Mr Chaggar said he went into Altaf because he had been told that his mother bought ginger
there on the day she disappeared but did not go in Sani Globe because he had been told by
Hannan that she did not go in his shop that day.
“If I had been told she had gone into Sani Globe than I would have gone in there as part of
the reconstruction,” he said.
Mr Chaggar’s wife Parmjit said on September 3 she and her son retraced her mother-in-
law’s route, showing her photo in various shops. Staff in Altaf said she had been in the day
before and bought ginger.
She then called at Sani Globe and spoke to a man behind a till and showed him a photo of
“I asked him if she had come into the shop between 3.30pm and 3.45pm and he said he
went to lunch at that time and would speak to another member of staff to see if he knew if
she had been in the shop,” Parmjit Chaggar told the court.
The following day, September 4, she retraced her steps again and called in Sani Globe and
spoke to the man she had spoken to the day before.
“He remembered me and said he’d spoken to his colleague who said mum was outside the
shop looking at the food display but did not come in,” Parmjit Chaggar said.
On September 9 she went back to the shop and spoke to the same man who said they
hoped the family found Mrs Chaggar and they would pray for her.
Parmjit Chaggar was shown photos of the handbag found in the rubbish picked up by a
refuse lorry driver at the shop on September 3 and she said it looked like her mother-in-
“I can definitely identify features on the pictures which were on mum’s bag,” she said. “It
looks very much like mum’s bag.”
“I have gone over those events and those of the previous week because I keep on wondering if I could have done anything to prevent this happening" - Kuldish Chaggar
Cross examined by Oliver Saxby QC, defending Murshed Miah, Parmjit Chaggar said the
man she spoke to at Sani Globe understood what she was saying in English and she could
understand what he was saying.
Earlier the court had been read statements from Mrs Chaggar’s friends who all said she was
a happy woman, always laughing and joking and willing to help anyone. She was looking
forward to going to India later in the month for her niece’s wedding.
The trial continues.
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