Ashok, his wife Deepa and their two children had been living in the Mannadi Lane at Ambalamukku in Thiruvananthapuram for 17 years now.
A day after Christmas, their neighbours were startled to hear that a charred body had been found in the backyard of the couple’s house. 50-year-old Deepa had been strangulated and her body burnt. The news of a murder had alarmed the quiet neighborhood, but the biggest shock was when police arrested 23 -year-old Akshay, Deepa’s son for the crime.
Akshay had completed his engineering course earlier in 2017, and was waiting to clear a few of the remaining papers. His father was employed in Muscat, while his sister was married and in UAE.
According to the police, on December 25th, Akshay strangulated his murder and set her body on fire, all in a pure fit of anger.
What went wrong?
It had been three weeks since Akshay had spoken to his mother Deepa, he has said in his confession, claim police. Around three in the evening, Akshay asked his mother for money. When she refused to give him money, he allegedly attacked her. He dragged her from the bedroom to the kitchen and then allegedly strangulated her with a bed sheet.
The body, according to the police, was then dragged to the back side of the house. Akshay then burnt his mother’s body at the spot where the family would regularily burn their garbage. Though the house was situated in a residential colony, only an empty plot was next to the back of their house.
“He was mentally detached from his mother and he suspected that she had extra marital affairs. He was into drugs, but we do not know if he was under the influence of drugs at the time of murder. From the beginning there were contradictions in his statements. On 26th morning he himself came to the police station saying that his mother was missing and remains of a body was found near the house. He was reluctant to cooperate with the interrogation but later he confessed to the crime. Her refusal of money had angered him,” Peroorkada Circle Inspector Stuart Keeler who is a part of the investigating team told TNM.
Police officials say that the young man who had a penchant for Hollywood movies and was part of a college gang called ‘Chathan’ (Devil) seemed to have acted normal after the murder. He ate ice cream with his friend after the crime, the police said.
“He used kerosene which had been stocked in the house. After setting her body ablaze he put firewood to ensure that it burnt fully. He cooked an omelet, and ate it while watching TV after setting the body on fire. Later he had ice cream with a friend. We spoke to the friend with whom he had ice cream that evening, he had called up the same friend the next day to inform him that his mother had gone missing,” the police officer said.
Akshay’s friends, the police say, are shocked at the very thought that their friend could have committed such a crime. Popular among his gang of friends, police believe that his dependence on drugs could have started the problems with his mother.
“Though a strong smell had emanated, a few neighbours thought that someone must have burnt garbage and that combined with the smell of paint had made it pungent” Stuart Keeler said.
The family had shifted to the neighborhood when Akshay was just a toddler. Ashok hails from Palode in Thiruvananthapuram, while Deepa a native of Kollam.
“There was a foul smell on Christmas day, but none of us had imagined such a tragedy behind it. Since it was Christmas we were busy with festivities. Akshay used to smile at me and spoke to me whenever we met each other on the road. When he was a kid, he was my son’s friend and used to come to our house frequently,” said Anitha, a government employee who lives nearby.
“Deepa was a friendly person. I used to see her watering plants in the evening, on my way back from office. She was not working and was a home maker. The mother and son never created any issues in the neighbourhood. I met Deepa last five or six days ago and I don’t remember when I last met Akshay,” she said.
Ashok and his daughter Anagha have reached the city. The house is locked up now.