Murdered cabbie's son speaks out
PUBLISHED: 18:19 27 May 2009 | UPDATED: 10:43 23 August 2010
LIFE has to go on. My dad worked all of his life and was working into his retirement as a taxi driver. He knew this as much as any of us. You can t just sit around and let what happened to him get to you, you have to get on with things and make of life
LIFE has to go on. My dad worked all of his life and was working into his retirement as a taxi driver. He knew this as much as any of us.
"You can't just sit around and let what happened to him get to you, you have to get on with things and make of life what you can."
These are the words of Telu Bajar, the eldest son of 71-year-old cabbie Gian Chand Bajar, of Darnley Road, Gravesend, who was murdered two years ago.
On May 23 2007 Luke Aujila, now 22, ran over Mr Bajar in his own taxi, and left him to die in St Benedicts Avenue, Gravesend.
Nearly exactly a year later, Aujila, of no fixed abode, was finally convicted of his murder at a three week trail at Maidstone Crown Court. He was sentenced to life in prison.
Telu Bajar, one of Mr Bajar's five sons and daughters, said the family will be having a memorial service to remember the popular Sikh cabbie.
He said: "You kind of learn to live with things really, that's how you cope.
"Of course the guilty verdict helps. It was able to bring us a bit of closure.
"We have had a lot of support, from everyone in the community, and from the Sikh community in Gravesend, that helps a lot.
"My father knew so many people here, he was very popular, and everyone has been so supportive of my mother for which we are very grateful."
A memorial service is due to be held at the Sikh temple in Clarence Place, Gravesend this Saturday and Sunday, with the whole community invited to come and pay their respects.
Mr Bajar was a member of the management committee at the Sikh temple and came to England in 1971 from the Punjab.
Hundreds of mourners attended his funeral and the borough's taxi drivers showed their support by displaying black ribbons across their cars.
Mr Bajar added: "We have an annual memorial service, which we will do for as long as my mother wants it. It is low key, but I think it is a nice thing to do.
"It is a positive way to remember your father rather than worrying about everything that went on with the verdict and all the other stuff.
Aujila was ordered to serve a minimum of 20 years in prison. His mother Annette Aujila, 42, of Dorchester Road, Gravesend, and brother Thomas Aujila, 26, of Gordon Road, were both given community service orders for perverting the course of justice.
Telu Bajar, who blasted the sentences at the time of the verdict a year ago, said: "I still think it was quite lenient.
"It was the minimum sentence he could have received. Another five or ten might have been fair, anything over that could be considered harsh.
"But he is lucky, because he lives in a system where he will do 20 years and he will be able to come out and walk again.
"That will never change, I am resigned to it, it is pointless being angry or bitter about it. He is lucky he lives in a civilised country that only gave him 20 years."
After Mr Bajar's death, the shocked taxi community campaigned for safer taxis. Just last year taxis across Gravesham finally installed CCTV cameras.
"I am happy that they have done something about it, Mr Bajar added. "Anything helps, the introduction of CCTV, the fact that drivers themselves are more aware of problems, and that people might be less inclined to misbehave if they know they might be caught.
"Anything that will prevent another tragedy is a good thing." firstname.lastname@example.org