The Additional District Sessions Court in Kerala’s Thiruvananthapuram on Tuesday sentenced two men to life imprisonment after they were found guilty of raping and later murdering a Latvian tourist in 2018. The court also ordered the convicts Umesh (24) and Udayakumar (28) to pay a fine of Rs 1.65 lakh each. The police arrested Umesh and Udayan under Section 302 (Murder) and Section 20 (b) of 376 of the Indian Penal Code. Police said the accused were involved in several criminal cases.
According to the prosecution, 33-year-old Latvian tourist Liga Skromane, who had come to Kerala from Ireland with her husband Andrew and younger sister IIze Skromane, went missing from an Ayurvedic treatment center in Thiruvananthapuram on March 14, 2018. A month later, on 21 April, her highly decomposed body was recovered from a mangrove forest near Kovalam beach.
The accused youths Umesh and Udayakumar, both residents of Panathura near Thiruvananthapuram, were nabbed last April. The police arrested them under sections 302 (murder) and 376 (rape) of the Indian Penal Code and section 20 (b) of the Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances Act and said they were involved in several criminal cases.
According to the prosecution, the accused hypnotized Liga, took her to the spot, made her drink ganja and then sexually assaulted her and strangulated her. Then Liga, a resident of Ireland, had come to Kerala for Ayurvedic treatment of depression and skin disease. She was in Kerala with her husband Andrew and younger sister Ilje Scromane.
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The case hit the media headlines when Ilje began her own efforts to locate her missing sister. In addition to filing a missing complaint with the local police, Ilje went to several places to locate her sister and had also announced a reward for information on Liga’s whereabouts.