Kerala minor ends life over love wrangle; autopsy reveals rape, beau booked

Last November, the accused reportedly sexually assaulted the victim at her home, when her parents were away.
Image used for representational purpose only.
Image used for representational purpose only.

KOCHI:  Police on Saturday arrested the 23-year-old manager of a used-car showroom for allegedly raping a minor girl who later died by suicide. The rape was confirmed in the postmortem after the victim, a plus-one student, breathed her last at a hospital in Kottayam on Wednesday. 

Joel, from Ramapuram, Kottayam, befriended the victim on a social media platform last year. Their friendship turned to love. Last November, the accused reportedly sexually assaulted the victim at her home, when her parents were away. Later, differences developed between the two. 

“Depressed by issues in their relationship, the victim consumed weedicide on December 23. On finding her in an unconscious state, relatives rushed her to a hospital. Her condition had been critical and she breathed her last on Wednesday,” said T B Vijayan, DySP, Puthencruz.

Koothattukulam police registered a case on December 24 after the suicide attempt and launched an investigation. “According to relatives, the victim was depressed by her relationship with Joel. So we charged him with abetting suicide. The postmortem revealed rape and we slapped him with offences under the Protection of Children from Sexual Offences (POCSO) Act,” Vijayan said.

Police maintain that even if the sex was consensual, he was charged with rape under POCSO as the victim was a minor. “Moreover, it is clear from the investigation that she died by suicide only due to issues in their relationship. The accused started distancing himself from the victim. This depressed her,” an officer with Koothattukulam police station said. 

Police searched the victim’s room and found several letters revealing her troubled relationship with Joel. 
Police also collected evidence in this regard from the mobile phones of the victim and the accused. Based on the evidence, police interrogated Joel and decided to record his arrest. “He was arrested on Saturday morning. He will be produced before the court on Sunday. We will file a petition in court seeking the custody of Joel next week,” the officer said.

(If you are having suicidal thoughts, or are worried about a friend or need emotional support, someone is always there to listen. Call Sneha Foundation - 04424640050, Tele Manas - 14416 (available 24x7) or iCall, the Tata Institute of Social Sciences' helpline - 02225521111, which is available Monday to Saturday from 8 am to 10 pm.)

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