Soumya was found dead hanging at Vellarada in April 2012

The rural police have told a court here that the death of 21-year-old Soumya at her husband’s house in Vellarada in April last was a murder and not a suicide as inferred earlier.

Around 4 p.m. on April 7, 2012, the incessant wailing of Soumya’s year-and-a-half-old son roused her neighbours from their siesta.

They broke open the front door of the house at Nelammamoodu, a sleepy suburban neighbourhood, to find her dead hanging.

A woman, Soumya’s neighbour, later told the police that she had seen a man scale the rear wall of the house and flee sometime between 2 p.m. and 4 p.m. the same day.

Soumya’s parents accused her husband, John, of murdering her. Theirs had been a love marriage. The police initially concluded that John had harassed Soumya for dowry and hence driven her to commit suicide. The police arrested him on the charge of dowry harassment and the case was deemed closed.

Deputy Superintendent of Police (DySP), Neyyatinkara, Y.R. Restum said a close reading of the post-mortem examination report had prompted him to reopen the case. Forensic doctors said that ‘consistent force on the neck’ had caused Soumya’s death. They found two ligature marks on the neck, which they opined was strange in a case of suspected suicidal hanging.

The doctors told the police that one injury was consistent to that caused by throttling. The other ligature mark was caused by the nylon shawl used for the hanging.

They also found internal injuries inside the victim’s lower lip and neck. There was also internal bleeding inside the skull, possibly caused by blunt force injury to the rear of the head.

Forensic pathologists, who studied the victim’s eyes under a magnifying glass during autopsy, found blood to have leaked from the tiny capillaries around the retina.

They told the police that the ‘petechial haemorrhages’ and post-mortem facial congestion were strong indications that death had been caused due to strangulation and asphyxia. Mr. Rustam said the police had made John the first accused in the case. Forensic and circumstantial evidence pointed to his culpability in the crime, the officer said. A neighbour later identified John as the person she had seen scaling the wall of the house an hour before local residents found Soumya dead. The police said John had refused to undertake a polygraph test. He stuck to his original statement that he had left his house in a huff after a tiff with his wife and later learned that she had committed suicide. He also accused the police of falsely implicating him in the case. The police have filed a new FIR in court, stating that Soumya had been murdered and her husband was the prime suspect.

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