KOCHI: The Ernakulam District Principal Sessions Court on Monday sentenced a former sexton to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 1 lakh for murdering Fr Xavier Thelakkad, 52, then vicar of St Thomas Church, Malayattoor, in the district. Pronouncing the verdict, judge Kauser Edappagath ordered that Johny Vat - tekadan, the former sexton of St Thomas Church, would have to undergo an additional year of simple imprisonment in case he fails to pay the fine.
The incident took place at the sixth station of Kurishumudi around noon on March 1, 2018. The two had an argument over Johny’s suspension from the church service during which the accused allegedly stabbed the priest with a knife on his leg leaving him bleeding profusely. Fr Thelakkad was rushed to a nearby medical centre and later to a hospital in Angamaly, but was declared brought dead.
Fr Xavier had chastised Johny several times for his addiction to alcohol and suspended him when the latter did not change his behaviour. Johny approached the priest several times requesting to take him back into the service. Nursing a grudge against the priest, the accused stabbed the priest when the latter once again rejected his demand on March 1, 2018. He was charged under Sector 302 (murder) of the IPC.