Monday 16 September 2019

Drug dealers charged with the brutal murder of woman in India

Umesh, pictured, and Udayan have been charged with the murder
Umesh, pictured, and Udayan have been charged with the murder
Umesh and Udayan, pictured, have been charged with the murder
Ian Begley

Ian Begley

Two Indian drug dealers have been charged with the rape and murder of Liga Skromane.

Police in the Indian region of Kerala arrested criminals Udayan (24) and Umesh (28) as part of their probe into the death of the young woman, who was strangled.

Liga (33) was originally from Latvia and had been living in Dublin for five years with her partner Andrew Jordan.

She had travelled alongside her sister Ilze to Kerala to attend a holistic retreat.

Both men are accused of drugging their victim before luring her to an isolated, marshy area of Vazhamuttom. It's believed she was killed after attempting to resist her attackers.

Her body was then left in a way to make it look like suicide.

State Police chief Loknath Behera described her death as "a brutal homicide".

"The investigation was dependent on the circumstantial evidence and we were able to crack it based on the scientific evidence," he said.

Police originally suspected that Liga had taken her own life, but her husband Andrew insisted from the start that this wasn't the case.

Speaking in India last week he said: "Had the police taken it more seriously, it would have been a different story.

"We are sure it's not suicide. We appeal to the police for a full investigation."

The two men charged have a string of unrelated criminal charges pending against them, including sexual assault and drug related crimes.

One man questioned had claimed Ms Skromane had an altercation with drug peddlers relating to money.

However, Mr Jordan refuses to believe his wife had any involvement with drugs. He also fears an innocent victim will be accused of being involved in Liga's death.

"Liga was not so stupid to go along with drug peddlers or their likes," he said to local media.

"I do not believe it was the boys at the beach who had done this. She was picked up from her [hotel] and was kept for a day or two where she was used and later killed and dumped.

"We don't want an innocent to be punished in the case," he said.

Inspector general Manoj Abraham said circumstantial and scientific evidence led police to the two suspects.

Irish Independent

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