"I am very confident we have a strong case"
An Indian man has been arrested in Delhi over the murder of a young woman who was found dead on an Australian beach in 2018.
The body of 24-year-old Toyah Cordingley was discovered in October 2018 after a “frenzied and brutal and sadistic” attack.
Earlier in November 2022, the Queensland government issued a A$1 million (£563,000) reward for information.
Rajwinder Singh was identified as a suspect and he was arrested in Delhi on November 25.
He is expected to face an extradition court hearing and will then be brought to Australia to face criminal proceedings.
Queensland police commissioner Katarina Carroll said:
“It was never a question of if, but when this day would come.
“I am very confident we have a strong case to put before the courts.”
Singh, who was working as a nurse in Australia, fled the country hours after Toyah’s body was discovered, leaving behind his job, wife and their three children.
Toyah had gone to Wangetti Beach to walk her dog on October 21 but never returned home.
Her body was found by her father the next day, half buried in sand dunes.
Originally from Buttar Kalan, Punjab, Singh was living in Innisfail, about two hours from the crime scene.
Commissioner Carroll said she believed Singh had been avoiding arrest since he fled.
The Australian government sought an extradition order in March 2021 – something Indian officials agreed to in October 2022. But they had been unable to locate the Indian man until now.
A Queensland police detective returned from India and it is reported that five Queensland police officers who speak Hindi and Punjabi have been receiving information via WhatsApp.
When the reward was announced, Toyah’s father Troy Cordingley said his daughter was “a young woman who will never get the chance to live a full life and all that entails… this was taken away from her”.
“While justice will not bring Toyah back, justice is the very least that she deserves.”
The reward is the highest ever offered in Queensland.
Commissioner Carroll said that if it transpired that information which led to the arrest was eligible for the reward, she would “happily write out the cheque myself”.
She praised cooperation with the Indian police, which she said had been “exceptional”.
Queensland Police Minister Mark Ryan said the arrest had been “a long time coming”.
He said: “This is very early days in the next stage of delivering justice for Toyah.
“I know people are excited about this development and I know people are relieved.”