Kerala rape and murder: Woman's cries for help fell on deaf ears, say cops

Three women were chatting in the neighbouring house, which is just 200 meters away from the crime scene, but chose to ignore her screams

Kerala: As gory details of the killing of a 30-year-old law student from Perumbavoor in Ernakulam district emerged five days after the crime, instant comparisons were drawn to that of the December 16, 2012, Delhi gang-rape case. However, a scrutiny of the details will reveal that the woman’s cold-blooded murder, rather butchery, is scarier than that of Nirbhaya’s.

Students and cops clash during a a protest march demanding justice for the murdered law student in Kochi yesterday. Pic/PTI
Students and cops clash during a a protest march demanding justice for the murdered law student in Kochi yesterday. Pic/PTI

Bloodcurdling facts revealed that help was mere 200 meters away from her residence had the woman’s neighbours responded to her cries on the afternoon of April 28. Her mutilated body was found in a defensive position, indicating that she fought her killer till the last breath.

Based on the circumstantial evidence — missing salwar and underpants from the body — cops have registered an FIR against unidentified killer/s under section 376 (imprisonment for rape) and 302 (murder).

Cop speak
Speaking to mid-day, Sub-Inspector PA Faisal, in-charge of Perumbavoor police station, Ernakulam (Rural), said, “The incident occurred between 4 pm and 5 pm on April 28. Three women were chatting in the neighbouring house, which is just 200 meters away from the crime scene. These women said they heard a few cries, but ignored them. The incident came to light at 8 pm after the victim’s mother returned home.”

Her mother, who is undergoing treatment for a psychological ailment, found her daughter’s mutilated body lying on the floor in a pool of blood. She is currently recuperating at the district hospital, the police said. She was stabbed over 20 times in the back of the head, chest, chin and privates using a sharp object, leaving her intestines hanging out of the body.

Faisal added, “The entire crime scene was cleaned with such precision that we haven’t got any vital clue from the spot that could offer a breakthrough.”

When questioned about her missing clothes, the officer said they found nothing at the spot. Despite deploying sniffer dogs and experts from the state forensic science laboratory, Thiruvananthapuram, to gather clues and evidence from the crime scene, the investigators are still groping in the dark.

“The canines led us to the canal near the house, which we believe was used as an escape route by the murderer. We searched the canal and recovered a knife from its bottom. However, we are yet to ascertain whether it is the murder weapon or not. Everything that was collected from and around the crime scene will be subjected to forensic and chemical analysis for clues.”

Killed after lunch
A preliminary autopsy report issued by the Government Medical College, Alappuzha, where her body was sent for an autopsy states that the incident happened soon after the student had her lunch, as undigested food particles were found in her stomach. Death due to strangulation with multiple stab wounds (unnatural) was described as the preliminary cause of death. The report also stated that the killer stabbed her and slit her throat after strangling her to ensure that she was dead. Another disturbing revelation the report made was that the killer mutilated her genitals and pulled out her intestines.

Faisal said, “We suspect that the murderer was acquainted with the victim and used this acquaintance to enter her residence, a small brick house whose floor was plastered with cow dung. The house lacked furniture.”

The police also found clippings of newspapers bearing ads of government jobs, thus hinting that she was desperately searching for a job. They also suspect that the murder could be an outcome of the killer’s rejection by the victim in the past.

Doc speak
Dr Amjad E, forensic surgeon who performed the autopsy, said, “We haven’t recorded any video of the procedure because the investigating officers neither asked for it nor made arrangements for the same.”

When requested to shed light on the nature of injuries she had sustained, the doctor concluded the discussion by stating, “We have already given our opinion to the police and can’t discuss medico-legal cases with mediapersons.”

2 suspects detained
Speaking to mid-day, Deputy Superintendent of Police (Perumbavoor) Anil Kumar said, “Based on their call detail record (CDR), we detained two suspects. The duo resides within the radius of 8 km from the victim’s residence. Their cellphone locations placed them near the crime scene on that day, so we detained them.”

The officer added that locals, who were initially reluctant to share any information with the police, have come forward and claimed to have seen a man leave the house at 5 pm. “They said the man appeared to be in his 30s. The two suspects we detained fit the description.”

Kumar said the victim’s mother was shown the knife they recovered from the canal, which she claimed was not theirs. “We aren’t solely relying on the mother’s testimony, as she is undergoing treatment,” the officer added.

Cops get ultimatum
Those who had studied with her feel that the police have failed miserably and have accused a few migrant workers in the area for their involvement in the crime. They met senior IPS officers in Ernakulam and threatened to approach the High Court seeking transfer of the case to another investigating agency if Kerala police failed to solve the case within next few days. Additional Director General of Police (South zone) K Padmakumar is currently supervising the investigation.

Friends speak

Mahin Hamja, a former classmate
We were together at the Government Law College (2010 to 2013), but she failed to clear three papers in the finals following which she took a sabbatical of two years. She finally decided to clear the remaining papers this May, for which exams concluded today (Tuesday).

Sethu Raj Kadaikal, a former classmate
She was a soft-spoken person, who hardly spent time in college after lecture. She never discussed any of her family problems with us. Until now, none of us knew that her father stayed separately or the ever-present financial problems at home.

Political slugfest

BJP, CPI-M hand in glove: Chandy
The BJP and the CPI-M in Kerala are hand in glove and want to weaken the Congress, Chief Minister Oommen Chandy said yesterday. In a statement, Chandy questioned why the BJP was not pressing for a CBI probe into the brutal murder of former CPI-M leader TP Chandrasekheran four years ago. He said the BJP was soft on the Communist Party of India-Marxist as its principle enemy was the Congress. “The BJP is interested in weakening the Congress. For that, these two parties are in a (covert) tie up for the (May 16) polls,” Chandy said.

BJP: Why is Sonia silent?
BJP MP Meenakshi Lekhi yesterday questioned the Congress party as to why its president Sonia Gandhi and vice president Rahul Gandhi have kept mum over the rape and murder of the law student. Targeting the Gandhis, Lekhi said, “These people, who politicise suicides, have no time to visit the state. The Congress president herself is a woman, but their concern for women and Dalits comes up only if the incident happens in a non-Congress state.”

Punish her killers: Kejriwal
Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal yesterday sought ‘exemplary punishment’ to those who brutalised the woman before murdering her. “One feels sick. Give exemplary punishment to guilty. But we all need to work together to prevent such incidents,” he tweeted.

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