Triple-life sentence for uncle who raped and murdered niece after saying he would take her to school

Harriet Brewis

A man who raped and murdered his seven-year-old niece has been given a triple life sentence behind bars, Indian media has reported.

The 27-year-old, known only as Rajesh, was spared the death sentence by a court in Southern Kerala but will never be released from prison.

In September 2017, he told the girl's grandmother he would walk her to school but instead took her to a rubber plantation, the prosecution said.

There, he raped and brutally strangled her. Her body was recovered two days after she was reported missing.

Rajesh was found guilty of rape, murder, abduction, unnatural sex, showing disrespect to body and destroying evidence.

On Wednesday, he was sentenced to three life terms and an additional jail term of 26 years.

All three life terms will have to be served separately, the court in Kollam, Kerala, ruled.

When the schoolgirl was initially reported missing, Rajesh led the search, the Hindustan Times reported.

He also headed up a protest against her school, claiming she had gone missing from there.

However, CCTV footage from a nearby house revealed the victim had been travelling with her uncle.

He confessed to the crime and led the police to the spot where he abandoned the little girl's body.

The case triggered shock and outrage in the state in 2017