A gay bank worker has been convicted of murdering his wife before burning her body just months after they tied the knot in a lavish arranged marriage ceremony.

The jury of seven women and five men took around 17 hours to find Jasvir Ginday guilty of Varkha Rani's murder after a three-week trial at Wolverhampton Crown Court.

He had already admitted manslaughter and perverting the course of justice by attempting to dispose of the 24-year-old's remains in a patio incinerator in the back garden of their marital home in Walsall, West Midlands.

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Ginday initially told police that his Indian wife - who had only been in the UK for three weeks - had packed her bags and walked out on him following a row at their home in Victory Lane.

The 29-year-old claimed throughout his trial that he had accidentally killed Ms Rani while restraining her with a vacuum cleaner hose, after she had apparently threatened to expose his homosexuality to family and friends.

But the jury believed the prosecution's case that the Royal Bank of Scotland employee had planned the killing of his university-educated wife.

Ginday, who showed no obvious emotion as the unanimous verdict was returned, was told he would serve at least 21 years in prison for the murder.

Ginday, whose family were unaware he is gay, wed Ms Rani in a lavish ceremony in India, attended by 700 guests, early in 2013.

Ms Rani later flew to the UK to live in the couple's Walsall home, arriving in August 2013, but there were "teething problems" in their marriage, according to Ginday's account.

Prosecutor Debi Gould told the jury that Ginday was a man who liked to be in control, kept a diary, and had only recently meticulously planned his sister's large-scale wedding.

Ms Gould, cross-examining the university graduate, picked apart his version of events and said it was clear that he had planned to kill his wife.

Among the evidence against Ginday was an internet search for a patio incinerator, made just days after Ms Rani arrived in the country, and CCTV showing him buying a bottle of petrol which he used to burn her body.

Ginday had claimed the couple had a row on September 12 last year in which his wife threatened to "expose" his homosexuality to friends and family, after apparently discovering "compromising" material on an iPad and iPhone.

He also told the court that he "loved" his wife and had wanted to get married.

Recounting the killing, he told the jury that his wife had come at him in the bedroom, "thrashing", and he was "trying to calm her down".

The pair ended up on the floor, at which point he claimed he grabbed the metal pipe of a vacuum cleaner which was lying nearby and "in the spur of the moment" put it on her neck.

Ginday, who the jury heard was a regular gym-goer, asserted that he then "panicked", dragged his new bride to the patio incinerator, and placed her inside with the help of a metal pole.

The following day, when two police officers carried out a search of the house for clues as to Ms Rani's whereabouts, Ginday's story of his missing wife began to unravel.

In the back garden, a constable asked Ginday about the cause of a "ridiculous" smell emanating from his yard.

Ginday at first replied "ashes" but then corrected himself, saying: "I mean leaves".

Officers then approached the incinerator and discovered the "terrible sight" of Ms Rani's badly burned remains.

A post-mortem examination was unable to establish a definitive cause of death, but recorded that Ms Rani had a "reddening" of her throat and, after death, had received at least 12 blows to the head from a rounded object, which the prosecution said had been caused by Ginday using a metal pole to push her body further down into the incinerator.

It emerged during the trial that Ginday had entertained concerned family members at his home - worried over what they believed was Ms Rani's disappearance - while his wife was in the incinerator.

A series of witnesses, including neighbours and passers-by, told the trial they had witnessed smoke with a strange smell coming from the house.

In a statement issued following the guilty verdict, Ms Rani's cousin, Sunil Kumar, said: "No words can truly express the sadness and hurt my family and I are experiencing at the loss of Varkha. She was loved dearly by all, she had a great passion for life and doted on her family.

"Varkha attained a masters degree and was driven to make her life a success. Unfortunately, she fell prey to Ginday who had ulterior motives which Varkha would not have appreciated."

Detective Chief Inspector Sarbjit Johal, the officer in charge of the murder inquiry, said: "How Varka met her death still remains a mystery. Her body was badly damaged but it was clear to the pathologist that she was dead when she was put into the incinerator.

"Ginday got married as a matter of convenience - he tricked a poor innocent girl into marriage but was living a lie.

"When she uncovered the truth, he could not live with it and killed her quickly, then tried to dispose of her body and her possessions by burning them.

"Had another day passed before police attended, Ginday may well have successfully removed all traces of Varkha.

"I hope that this verdict brings some comfort to Varkha's family, who have travelled from India to see justice is brought for their daughter."