The Thiruvananthapuram Additional Sessions Court, on Friday, found two accused in a sensational case of rape and murder of a Latvian woman guilty of the crime.
Additional Sessions Court Judge K Sanil Kumar convicted Umesh, 30, and Udayakumar, 27, of rape and murder, wrongful confinement, abduction and sale of narcotic substances.
The quantum of punishment in the case will be announced on Monday.
A 33-year-old Latvian woman, who had arrived in Kerala with her sister for Ayurveda treatment, went missing from Kovalam beach on March 14, 2018. Later, her highly decomposed body was recovered from a mangrove forest near Thiruvallam on April 20, the same year. The body was identified by her sister.
The prosecution case was that the accused, Udayakumar and Umesh, had lured the victim to the mangrove forest, and drugged the lady before sexually assaulting her. It was argued that when she resisted, the two men strangled her to death, and hung her from a tree.
The case was built around 18 circumstantial evidence and all of them were accepted by the court. The prosecution proved the rape charge by linking the injuries that were sustained by the victim in her private parts as well as the lack of explanation and the lies of the accused regarding the injury marks in their body parts, which were sustained during the same period as that of the murder.
The prosecution had examined 30 witnesses, produced 79 documents and eight pieces of material evidence before the court. Absence of eye witnesses made the case a challenging and the police had to conduct an in-depth analysis of the circumstantial evidence and statements of the witnesses to build a watertight case. The antecedents of sexual assaults of the accused was also linked to the case and circumstantial evidence turned out to be crucial in proving the case.
The deceased’s sister and her partner stayed back for long in Kerala to follow up the case, she then flew back home with the ashes of the deceased. Last year, she returned to Kerala and approached the Kerala High Court to seek an order to speed up the trial in the case.