On 13 February 2003, business owner and married father of two Amarjit Chohan disappeared without a trace in Hounslow, West London. Two days later, on 15 February his wife 25-year-old Nancy Chohan, her mother 51-year-old Charanjit Kaur and his two young children, 18-month-old Davinder and 2-month-old Ravinder, also vanished. Rumour suggested Mr Chohan had got himself involved in some shady business deals and had fled back to India with his family to escape repercussions. However, when a company employee presented letters that appeared to be signed by Amarjit Chohan stating he was handing over full control of his company, the disappearance of the Chohan family began to look more suspicious.
When Mrs Chohan’s brother flew in from New Zealand to convince London police his sister and her family would not simply disappear, a full investigation was launched. What transpired was a sickening plan by two men to get their hands on a successful business to act as a front for laundering their drug money. A plan which involved fraud, abduction, torture and the murder of six people in order to get what they wanted. The Chohan family had not run away from anything. They had been callously murdered and disposed of as if their lives didn’t matter simply for the lure of money.
51-year-old Amarjit Chohan owned a successful haulage business, CIBA Freight, which was located near London’s Heathrow airport. It was a business worth over £5 million, enabling him to provide a comfortable life for his family. It was money which 54-year-old Kenneth Regan and his friend, 52-year-old William Horncy, wanted to get their hands on. Regan had recently started to work at the freight company and to him it offered opportunity to earn big money through illegal drugs and money laundering, something Regan was already experienced in. The pair planned to take over the business, route the money from their drug deals through the company’s accounts and sit back and enjoy the proceeds.
“A young family, a new family, was entirely wiped out at the hands of these murderous men, in an attempt to line their own pockets.”
Kenneth Regan had led a life of crime and he is believed to have been the mastermind behind the murder plot. His criminal past was littered with criminal deals, drug trafficking and fraudulent activities across the city of London and in 1998 he was convicted of drug offences after being arrested in possession of 30 kg of heroin. He was also charged with bodily harm against a policewoman who he ran over with his car when trying to escape police capture. He was sentenced to 20 years in prison, however, he turned supergrass. In exchange for a reduced sentence of 8 years, he agreed to give evidence against his former drug associates. A move clearly made to save himself prison time, it was one which meant reinserting himself back into his old life on his release from prison would be impossible. It was this deal which saw Regan serve only 3 years and he was released from prison in July 2002 on the lookout for a new way to make money.
It is now known that on 13 February 2003, Amarjit Chohan went to Stonehenge in Wilshire believing he was going to a meet a potential buyer for his freight company. Instead, he was met by Kenneth Regan, William Horncy, and their accomplice Peter Rees who abducted him by force. Taken back to Regan’s home in Wilton near Salisbury, he was gagged and tortured until he agreed to sign blank letters and record voice messages for his family. Blank letters which would later be added to by Regan to say Chohan was handing the entire company over to him. Regan’s plan was to have the paperwork filed, kill Amarjit Chohan and reap the rewards of a million pound company for himself. It is believed Mr Chohan was kept alive for a number of days in order for the men to put the pieces of their plan in motion before he was killed.
At some point, Kenneth Regan realised that in order to support the story that Amarjit Chohan had fled the country, he would have to get rid of his entire family. On 15 February 2003, with Mr Chohan still being held at Regan’s house, Kenneth Regan and William Horncy arrived at the Chohan family home and murdered everyone in the house including the two children, taking their bodies away in a hired van.
Two days later, Kenneth Regan turned up at CIBA Freight with the signed letters from Mr. Chohan and a power of attorney document giving Regan full powers over the company. Staff were highly suspicious, however, with letters put in front of them allegedly written by their boss they had no other option than to do as Kenneth Regan asked. Mr. Chohan had served prison time in the UK for tax evasion in the past, something most of the staff team were aware of, making the tale presented by Regan and the supporting letters more credible.
The bodies of the Chohan family were initially buried on a 50-acre farm estate in Tiverton, Devon, land owned by Belinda Brewin, a woman Regan had befriended in the weeks before his jail sentence in 1998. On 19 April 2003, however, Regan decided to move the bodies from the farm fearing they would be discovered. With the help of Horncy he returned to the farm and to dig up the bodies. Miss Brewin returned home unexpectedly while they were in this process and was furious to find Regan digging up her land, having no idea what he was really up to.
It is believed Regan and Horncy hired a boat and dumped the bodies of the Chohan family out to sea. Ten days later, the body of Amarjit Chohan was found floating near Bournemouth Pier. He was quickly identified and sedative drugs detected in his system along with restraint marks evidence on his wrists and ankles. Inside his sock was a scribbled letter addressed to Kenneth Regan. While police have never released the contents of this letter, it is believed to have been hidden by Mr Chohan before he was killed.
“The cold-blooded murders of an eight-week-old baby and an 18-month-old toddler, not to mention the murders of their mother, father and grandmother, provide a chilling insight into the utterly perverted standards by which you have lived your lives.”
In July 2003, the body of Nancy Chohan was found after being caught up in fishing nets near the Isle of Wright and four months later the body of her mother, Mrs. Kaur washed up on a beach, again in the Isle of Wright. The cause of death could not be established and bodies of the two young children have never been found.
Kenneth Regan was arrested on 2 August 2003 after police made the connections between the family’s disappearance, the letters giving CIBA Freight to Regan and Regan’s activities at Belinda Brewin’s farm. Arrests of William Horncy and Peter Lees followed soon after. All three men were taken to trial, charged with abduction, false imprisonment and multiple murder in November 2004 to which they entered pleas of not guilty.
Kenneth Regan’s home was exceptionally clean with new carpets and furniture when it was forensically examined by police. however, a single drop of blood was found believed to have come from one of the Chohan children, linking Regan further to their deaths. Regan claimed the letter found on Amarjit Chohan’s body addressed to him was a ‘plant’ by police to frame him, an argument successfully countered by the prosecution team who highlighted this letter was Chohan’s last hope in leaving behind a clue as to what had happened to him. Regan and Horncy were found guilty in April 2005 of the murders of all six members of the Chohan family and sentenced to life imprisonment. Peter Lees was convicted of only Amarjit Chohan’s murder and sentenced to minimum of 23 years behind bars. “Your characters are as despicable as your crimes,” the judge told Regan and Horncy. “Each of you is a practised, resourceful and manipulative liar. For these crimes, you two highly dangerous men must now pay the heaviest sentence.”