Painter killed mother of two and stole her jewels for settling his debts
The Madras High Court has refused to confirm the death sentence imposed by a lower court on a painter convicted of murdering a mother of two school going children by slitting her throat at a newly constructed apartment at Mogappair in Chennai on December 12, 2007 and stealing her jewels to settle his debts.
Justices C. Nagappan and M. Sathyanarayanan held that there were no special circumstances in the present case to impose the extreme penalty of death sentence. “Life imprisonment is the rule and death sentence is an exception and life imprisonment is an adequate punishment having regard to the relevant circumstances of this case,” they said.
‘Not a long and well planned murder'
“This is a case of circumstantial evidence…We find that the prosecution has firmly established the circumstances relied on by it and the chain is complete and we have no hesitation to conclude that the crime was committed by the accused Jayakumar… (But) It does not appear to be a long and well planned murder.”
According to the prosecution, the convict Jayakumar was doing painting work in the house of the deceased on that day. Around noon, his wife came to the house along with another painter and told him that she was humiliated by a person to whom her husband owed Rs.5,000 as rent for hiring painting equipment.
The convict asked his wife to come back by 3 p.m. to collect the money. After coming back, she noticed blood stains on her husband's clothes. But he convinced her saying that it was varnish stains and sent her back.
Later, the victim's children, aged nine and four, found their mother lying in a pool of blood in the bathroom.
The watchman and their neighbour immediately informed the children's father, a software engineer, who rushed to the house and lodged a complaint with the then J.J. Nagar police station, presently known as Nolumbur police station.
The police secured Jayakumar near Anna Nagar police station on June 27, 2008 and he confessed to have committed the crime.
On September 23 last year, an Additional District and Sessions Judge at Poonamallee imposed death penalty on the convict under Section 302 (murder) of the Indian Penal Code and referred the matter to the High Court for confirmation as required under the Code of Criminal Procedure. Apart from the referred trial, the convict too had filed an appeal.
Disposing of both the cases together, the High Court rejected the submission made by the convict's counsel that the police had failed to prove the case beyond all reasonable doubts as there was contradiction between the quantum of jewels reportedly recovered from his client and the quantum that went missing as per the version of the complainant.
“This contention is devoid of merit. P.W.1 (first Prosecution Witness- the husband of the deceased) had given the complaint, few hours after the occurrence, informing about the missing jewels worn by his wife. (Therefore) One cannot expect the grief stricken husband to state the exact weight of the missing jewels in his complaint,” the judges said.
Keywords: Death sentence commuted