Indian rickshaw driver fatally stabs American wife, kills self by fire

In this photograph taken on Feb 20, 2014, investigators take photographs at the charred residence where accused Indian auto-rickshaw driver Bunty Sharma immolated himself after killing his wife, US national Arian Willingar from Pennsylvania, in Agra.
In this photograph taken on Feb 20, 2014, investigators take photographs at the charred residence where accused Indian auto-rickshaw driver Bunty Sharma immolated himself after killing his wife, US national Arian Willingar from Pennsylvania, in Agra. -- PHOTO: AFP

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

Mr 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 on Thursday, senior police officer Shalabh Mathur told AFP.

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

The couple first met when Ms 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.

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

The United States embassy in New Delhi refused to comment on the case but Mr 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," Mr Mathur said.

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

At the end of her July trip, Ms 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 Ms Willingar dressed as a traditional Indian bride.

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