The accused, 38-year-old Velmurugan, had already served a jail term for a double murder in 2002. He was convicted in 2004 and released towards the end of 2013.

TN serial killer who targeted elderly farmers in Madurai nabbed
news Crime Friday, August 23, 2019 - 08:36

In April this year, Usilampatti town in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai district woke up to the shocking news of an elderly farmer’s murder. Sixty-year-old Vellaisamy Elumalai, who was sleeping outside in his farm, was found in the morning lying in a pool of blood, bludgeoned to death.

Even as a police investigation into the murder was underway, the small town, less than an hour from Madurai city, saw a second murder on May 30. This time, it was 84-year-old Ayyavu alias Gurunathan from Linganayakkanpatti village who was found with his face smashed in. The back-to-back murders baffled the police in the district who were yet to zero in on any suspects. After three months, a third murder was discovered in Vikkiramangalam hamlet. Sixty-five-year-old Paulsamy had also been sleeping outside in his farm when he was murdered in the wee hours of August 3.

The police now say that they have cracked the case after they apprehended a 38-year-old man on August 13. They suspect that the man was behind the killing spree, terrorising rural neighbourhoods in the area in the past few months. The accused, T Velmurugan of Govinthampatti village in Theni district, is an ex-convict who had already spent 10 years in prison for twin murders in 2002. He was convicted in 2004 and released towards the end of 2013.

Speaking to TNM, Uslimapatti DSP Raja says, “Velmurugan is an ex-convict. He was found roaming around the area during the incidents. When the last murder took place, he had fled after stealing a cell phone. He has a tendency to kill elderly people in the middle of the night. His father left him when he was a child and so he has an inexplicable anger towards those who are older than 50. By his own admission, he roams around in the night through the fields and sleeps during the day. He would wake up an elderly man, asking for food. When they’d chase him away thinking he was there to rob them, he would attack and kill them.”

“We cannot say that he’s mentally unstable. We had a psychologist during the enquiry as well and Velmurugan spoke coherently,” adds the DSP.

Velmurugan’s mother, who still lives in Govinthampatti, reportedly told the police that her son was fine after his release from prison in 2013 but that he had left home in a couple of years. In 2002, Velmurugan was convicted of the murder of an elderly couple in Madurai. The couple, 65-year-old Mokkai and his 55-year-old wife, had been murdered by Velmurugan in a manner similar to that of the recent murders.

Following his release from prison, Velmurugan was unemployed. Police allege that he would roam around and ask people for food, and if they refused and behaved rudely, he would attack or kill them.

Describing how they linked the three murders, the police said that all the victims – elderly farmers – were strangled and had their faces smashed in. All of them were over 60 years of age. All of them had been sleeping outside on a rope-woven cot in their farms. All murders took place in the wee hours of the night.

The accused has been remanded and is currently lodged in Madurai Central Prison.

Also read: Burglars targeting the elderly? TN police advise on how to stay safe

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