THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: The Additional Sessions Court here has pronounced life imprisonment till death to the two accused, who were found guilty of rape and murder of a Latvian woman Liga Skromane near Kovalam in 2018.
Judge K Sanil Kumar found Panathura natives Umesh, 31, and Udayakumar, 28, guilty of rape, murder, wrongful confinement, abduction and sale of narcotic substances.
The court also slapped a fine of Rs 1.65 lakh on each of the convicts and directed it to be given to the family of the victims.
Also, the court said the victim's family should be compensated under the Victims Compensation Scheme.
Special Prosecutor G Mohan Raj hailed the verdict as an exemplary judgement and said it was better than capital punishment. "The case fulfilled more than one parameter that the Supreme Court had laid down to judge a case as rarest of the rare. The verdict will have a strong deterrence effect and is a better punishment than death. We are satisfied over the judgement," he said.
The court ordered that for raping the woman resulting in her death, the convicts should serve life imprisonment till their biological death and are not entitled to remission or parole.
The convicts after hearing the judgement reacted emotionally in the court. They demanded that a lie detector test should be conducted on them, which would prove their innocence.
They also claimed to have seen a yoga master running away from the crime spot on the day the Latvian tourist was murdered and alleged that the police did not investigate the hair that was found near the dead body.
ACP J K Dinil, who was present in the court, said all these allegations were ruled out by the cops during the investigation.
The 33-year-old woman had arrived in Kerala for Ayurveda treatment and went missing from Kovalam beach on March 14, 2018. Her body was recovered from a mangrove near Panathura 38 days later in a putrefied state.