Can you beleive this...Real life story from Discovery Channel.. He killed and killed for a big cheque A community newspaper recounts a serial killer’s exploits by A.J. Philip From left: Sukhwinder, Sarbjit, Khushpreet and Parvesh. Below: The Sukhwinder story on the cover of The Hamilton Spectator A NEWSPAPER is often compared to a battleship in action. Everything in the making of a newspaper is done in a hurry. Hence journalism is defined as literature in hurry. In the perpetual search for new stories, little effort is made to dig deeper into a story to unravel the whole truth. Few newspapers have either the resources or the inclination to investigate as complicated a story as a serial killing and come up with a complete account, however shocking it may be. An exception to this rule is The Hamilton Spectator, a community newspaper published from Hamilton, an industrial town near Toronto in Canada. What occasioned the unusual response from this 157-year-old newspaper are the wicked deeds of a hardy native from Punjab, whose greed, bigamy, perjury and anger led to a series of killings in Punjab and Canada. It took more than a year for reporter John Wells and photographer Scott Gardner to put together the gripping story. That included a trip to Punjab last year. The series they developed represents the largest single investment of journalistic resources in The Hamilton Spectator's history. It is written in the style of a novel, but all of the detail, context, and dialogue presented, while employing the devices of fiction, are entirely based on reportage. That is the strength of Poison: A True Crime Story brought out by the newspaper in an unusual book format. The story began with the arrival in Hamilton of Sukhwinder Singh Dhillon and his mother Gobind Kaur Dhillon from Ludhiana in 1981. His elder brother Sukhbir Singh Dhillon, who had dug gold in Hamilton, sponsored their visit. Sukhwinder and his mother did not reach there as economic refugees, seeking food and shelter. They were not like the boat people from Vietnam washed ashore gasping for a breath of freedom. The Dhillons were relatively rich. They owned a 12-acre parcel of farmland and about 40 head of cattle. Canada, for Sukhwinder and his mother, offered not a glimmer of hope, but gold at the end of the rainbow, a promised land not of mere survival, but of riches. Soon, Dhillon earned the reputation of a clown. It started with the fact that he was obviously uneducated. He spoke even Punjabi in broken sentences. However, the tell-tale sign was his English. Dhillon spoke no English, at first. He picked it up later, not from the classroom like the others, but from the street, friends, television. When he spoke English, it was gibberish, the words strung together incorrectly and quickly repeated over and over. "He painted his life in India as a tableau of sensational adventure and feats of strength. Listeners could not tell if Dhillon was joking or delusional or was really the tough guy he described." Two years later, he returned to Ludhiana to meet a young woman his parents had arranged for him to marry. They had lived in the same part of the town, but their paths had never crossed. Her name was Parvesh Kaur Grewal. He brought her to Hamilton. Parvesh was beautiful, spoke good English and soon found a job. In due course, two daughters were born to them — Aman and Harpreet. To the outside world, they provided the image of a perfect family. But in the two-storyed house on Berkindale Drive, the couple often quarrelled. Parvesh had got used to being physically assaulted until one day she called the police. He was released on bail. "It cost just $300" he boasted. Sukhwinder stopped making an honest living in 1991 when he told his boss a lie that he fell off a moving trolley and hurt his back and head." He began getting accident insurance money. He supplemented his income by dealing in used cars. He developed expertise in cheating insurance companies. Life was comfortable for him but Sukhwinder wanted more and more money. And he had got tired of his wife. On February 3, 1995, Parvesh died in hospital after Dhillon had poisoned her but no one suspected foul play. Within a few week of Parvesh's death, Sukhinder arrived in Ludhiana looking for a bride. Marrying a Canadian citizen like Dhillon was the dream of many Punjabis. Sarabjit Kaur Brar from Panj Grain did not have much say when her parents found in Sukhwinder the passport to a better life for the whole clan. But she knew what kind of man the NRI was when on the first night, he impatiently asked her to disrobe: "Kaprey laah dey". He was not satisfied with her, either. The schemer had found another victim in Khushwinderpreet Kaur Toor from Tibba, whom he wedded within a few days of his marriage with Sarabjit. He returned to Hamilton with the dowry he collected from the two families. There Parvesh's insurance money - a cool $200000 — awaited him. Life could not have been better for him. Meanwhile, in India, his second wife was pregnant. But he was not happy. "Children would identify him to everyone as her husband, something he could not allow." He had specifically asked Sarabjit not to name them. Yet, she named them — Gurmeet and Gurwinder. This infuriated Sukhwinder. On his next visit to India, he got the opportunity. "Sarabjit joined the mother in the kitchen to make tea. Dhillon was alone with the babies." He poisoned them. They died on consecutive days. A month later his third wife Khushpreet died. Her final words were that he gave her a pill. Within a month, he married yet again, this time to Sukhwinder Kaur Grewal, his fourth wife. Around this time, in Hamilton, he gave a pill to his friend Ranjit Khela to make up for his sexual inadequacy. Khela's wife saw him dying of convulsion. Little did she know that he had conned Ranjit Khela to name him as the beneficiary of his insurance policy. When the insurance official found that Sukhwinder, who was expecting a windfall from Khela's death, was the same person who had got a similar insurance amount earlier, he alerted the police. Investigations found that in all these murders he had poisoned them with Strychnine, a crystalline powder, colourless, odourless and extremely bitter. Classic Agatha Christie, Sherlock Holmes stuff. Painstaking efforts by the police, who sent two detectives to Punjab, saw him behind the bars, guilty of poisoning both his first wife and his friend. Lost in the tangle of witnesses and evidence was another bombshell — that Dhillon might have also poisoned his eldest brother, Darshan, in which case he killed six, four in Punjab and two in Canada. For the Hamilton police, it was one of the most complicated cases and for The Hamilton Spectator, the toughest to put together. After all, the story had too many plots, too many characters and too many locales to give it a cogent shape. Journalism has become richer by Poison: A True Crime Story.