A love story that crossed national barriers met a tragic end on Thursday evening after an auto driver stabbed to death his estranged American wife in Agra before committing suicide by setting himself on fire in a locked room. The cylinder in the room blew up the man.

Social worker and yoga therapist Arriane Willinger (35) had married auto driver Bunty Sharma (32) last September after months of friendship. After the marriage, which soon turned sour, Arriane assumed a new name Kiran Sharma. Arriane's bloodied body was found on a road on Thursday night, after which senior police officials rushed to the scene. When Police reached Bunty's house, his auto was standing outside and had blood stains on it and some belongings of his wife. The bodies were sent for post mortem and the Union Home Ministry and the American embassy were informed.

A suspected affair could have been the trigger for Arriane's murder, police say. The two were battling marital woes for the past two months and started living separately in rented rooms.

The couple sought the help of a family counselor to resolve their difference. Neighbours, who were privy to the marital tension and had attempted to sort out the differences,say tensions flared due to Bunty's failure to reconcile with his wife's "outgoing nature" and "Western culture." A neighbour, who requested anonymity, said: "It was all fine till they got married. He started asserting 'Indian' culture and values. He stated doubting her character."

Station Officer Ram Suresh Yadav said Bunty was also harbouring dreams of moving abroad by virtue of their marriage but Arriane wanted to live in India. Bunty accused Erin of lying that she was not married

while Erin charged Bunty with cruelty, greed, infidelity and also concealing the fact that he was already married once. Bunty's first wife died four years ago due to natural causes. According to Mr. Yadav, inter-nationality marriages and live-in relationships are common in Agra.