The ex-boyfriend of a dentist whose body was found in a suitcase deliberately killed himself by crashing his car into a truck just hours after speaking with police who were desperately trying to find her.
Harshwardhan Narde, 34, died in a fiery crash on the New England Highway in NSW on Monday, a day after Preethi Reddy, 32, vanished from Sydney’s CBD.
Police said Narde and Dr Reddy spent Sunday together in a hotel room before it is believed Dr Reddy was murdered.
Her body was found stuffed inside a suitcase in the back of her Volkswagen Golf in Kingsford on Tuesday night. She had been stabbed multiple times.
Police confirmed Narde was a suspect in Dr Reddy’s murder and they were ‘not looking for any other persons of interest’.
Narde, a dentist in Tamworth, northeast NSW, was driving home on Monday night after a weekend in Sydney at a dental conference, when he deliberately drove his BMW into a semi-trailer.
Dr Reddy had also been at the same conference and police said the pair had previously been in a relationship.
The last known sighting of her was captured on CCTV showing her waiting in line at McDonald’s on George Street, opposite The Strand Arcade, about 2.15am on Sunday.
Police said she bought two bottles of water then left by herself and walked to a hotel on Market Street where she stayed with Narde.
A source close to the family said the pair had dinner on Saturday night after the conference at an Indian restaurant in Crows Nest.
They said Narde had been ‘harassing’ her and Dr Reddy’s family became concerned as soon as they knew she had seen him.
Narde was questioned by detectives late on Sunday after she was reported missing and told them he and Dr Reddy went their separate ways after dinner.
Friends said the pair met seven or so years ago and Dr Reddy was clear she didn’t want to see him anymore when they broke up.
Detectives are investigating whether he went to the conference just to meet with her in the hopes of getting back together.
Others dentists said they saw them happily chatting for some time after the conference ended on Saturday night.
At Oasis Smiles Dental Clinic in Tamworth posted a tribute to Narde, saying he was ‘beloved’.
We will miss him beyond words. He touched many people’s lives and we will always remember him with his big cheeky smile.
We have been inundated with love and support in which we couldn’t be more grateful at this time.
Detective Superintendent Gavin Dengate said that telling Dr Reddy’s parents she was dead was the ‘toughest thing you can ever do’. He told reporters on Wednesday;
I have goosebumps talking about it. ‘As a parent, the worst thing we can do is bury our kids. It’s a space no of us want to be in.
Police said her car, a 2016 grey Volkswagen Golf Comfortline registration DFP78P, was a crucial piece of evidence.
TIMELINE TO MURDER
Saturday, March 2
7pm: Preethi Reddy leaves a dental convention in St Leonards on Sydney’s north shore.
Sunday, March 3
2.15am: Dr Reddy is seen at a McDonald’s on George Street in the Sydney CBD.
She stayed at a hotel on Market Street in the Sydney CBD with a man known to her.
11am: Dr Reddy last spoke to her family, telling them she planned to head home after having a late breakfast.
Dr Reddy’s family report her missing later on Sunday night.
Monday, March 4
10pm: The man Dr Reddy stayed with died after driving his BMW into a deliberate head-on crash with a truck.
Tuesday, March 5
9.30pm: Her body is found stuffed inside a suitcase in the boot of her grey Volkswagen Golf on a street in Kingsford.