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2 found guilty of raping, decapitating Latvian tourist in Kerala

A court in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram on Friday found two men guilty of raping and decapitating a 33-year-old Latvian tourist after luring her to a beach and offering her cannabis at Kovalam in March 2018. The convicts, P Umesh and Udaya Kumar, will be sentenced on Monday.

The woman was in Kerala for Ayurveda treatment when she was reported missing. Her decapitated body was recovered a month later from Kovalam. Umesh and Kumar were arrested four months after the body was found.

The prosecution said the two got friendly with the tourist and sexually assaulted her when she passed out after smoking cannabis. When she regained consciousness, she was enraged and threatened to approach police, prompting the two to strangle her using her shawl at an isolated place.

Umesh and Kumar tried to pass off the murder as suicide and tried to hang the body from a tree. But her post-mortem report concluded the tourist was drugged, raped repeatedly, and killed.

Police booked Umesh and Kumar for abduction, rape, drugging, and murder even as two of the 30 witnesses turned hostile during the trial.

Kovalam is a major tourist destination and the rape and murder provoked outrage. The tourist’s body was cremated and her ashes were taken to Latvia.

The Kerala high court last year directed Thiruvananthapuram’s sessions court to speed up the trial and deliver the verdict after the tourist’s sister sought a speedy trial.

The sister was also given access to the court proceedings online from Ireland, where she is settled now after the Latvian Embassy moved an application for it.

The sister welcomed the court’s verdict on social media. “I am really happy. My sister got justice. Many people helped me in my pursuit of justice; I really thank them,” she wrote.

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