Liga Skromane, the Latvian woman who died near Kovalam of Kerala, was murdered, and it was not a case of suicide, a forensic expert deposed before the Additional Sessions court in Thiruvananthapuram, where the trial of the case is going on. Dr Sasikala, former head of Forensics in Thiruvananthapuram Medical College, said that Liga's death was a clear case of homicide.
Liga had come to Kovalam in 2018 to seek medical treatment at an Ayurvedic resort, and disappeared one day in May. More than a month later, her decomposed body was found from a mangrove forest in Thiruvallam, near Kovalam. The police had charged two people -- Udayan and Umesh -- as accused at the time, for sexually assaulting and killing Liga. However both the accused were out on bail.
In the new development, Dr Sasikala told the court in Thiruvananthapuram that injuries in Ligaâ€™s neck and legs showed that the death was no suicide. A report in The Hindu quotes her saying that the neck injuries could have been caused by the use of a blunt force on the neck. Fractures in two cartilages and a bone in the neck led to the death of the Latvian tourist, the doctor is quoted as saying.
Two days ago, PG Ashok Kumar, former chemical examiner, testified in court that the presence of diatoms -- microorganisms found in fresh water and salt water -- meant that Liga died by drowning. However, Dr Sasikala ruled out drowning as a cause of death, since the injuries on her body made it clear what caused the death. The diatoms could mean that Liga consumed or was forcefully fed water or that she drowned.
Dr Sasikala also said that it was not clear if rape had occurred, since it was difficult to detect the presence of semen in putrefied bodies.
Liga's death had caused a furore in the state three years ago, bringing to question the safety of tourists visiting the state. Her partner Andrew fought the case for long, flying down from Ireland to hear the proceeding. In an earlier interview with TNM, Andrew had said that he was disheartened by the actions of the police.
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