Author Kathy Reichs speaks of horror after copycat murderer uses book for inspiration


By Rory Reynolds

CRIME writer Kathy Reichs has spoken of her horror on discovering that a student who murdered and dismembered a young mother had become obsessed with one of her books.

The US forensic expert said she was shocked to learn that Glasgow student Roshan Dantis brutally strangled his best friend’s wife, Khusbu Shah, 23, before dismembering her.

But, Reichs – whose expertise helped to convict Dantis at the High Court in Glasgow – denied that her book Devil Bones showed the 30-year-old how to cover his tracks.

The jury heard that Dantis, who was sentenced to at least 24 years in prison last week, had become obsessed with the thriller and even renewed his library ticket for the book just hours after killing Khusbu.

Reichs’ novel features forensic anthropologist Dr Temperance Brennan investigating ritual Satanic murders, including one where a victim is decapitated and disposed off.She said: “It’s terrible for her husband and for her child to lose a mother. That’s part of what I try to bring out in my books; that violence like this affects all networks of people.

Evade detection

“I don’t think my book could be used to evade detection. The whole point is that even though these crimes take pace, the person gets caught and is brought to justice.

“Who knows what link there was between reading my book and actually perpetrating the crime.

“He was already done other internet researched on the topic.

“I don’t think my book made him a batter criminal or caused him to cross that line – he was already moving there.”

The 23-year-old had let Dantis in to her home on the night of the murder and had even cooked him dinner the night before, the court heard.

The also trial heard how Dantis, a business student, had pretended that Khusbu had been kidnapped and tried to seize £120,000 – as well as a TV – in ransom from her husband Nagendra.

However Khusbu was already dead, with Dantis dumping her body behind her Dennistoun home before he attempted to extort the father-of-one.

Cleaver, towel, disposable gloves

Plastic bags containing the head and hands, as well as a cleaver, towel, disposable gloves and hooded sweater were hidden down an embankment.

Speaking last week, Nagendra said: “Khusbu was my beautiful wife and Nikhil’s perfect mum. She was brutally killed by a ruthless, evil man.

“Nikhil has had to cremate his 23-year-old mum.”

Reichs added that Dantis’ actions were motivated by financial gain, rather than any Satanic grounds, as is the case in the novel.

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  1. I know it is hard to distance oneself from such an event, but this person was disturbed. I can honestly say that, from the point of view of a forensic psychiatrist, this person could just as easily have watched “Bambi” and snapped. Ms. Reichs will blame herself, to a certain extent, and that is unavoidable. At the end of the day, however, the worst she could be accused of is slightly influencing the expression of the insanity that the perpetrator already had.

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