How Sofia and Arun killed Sam: A crime of ‘passion’ in Australia, with roots in Kerala.

 We want our grandson Parents of Kerala man killed by cyanide lovers in AustraliaSam and Sofia
news Crime Friday, June 22, 2018 - 20:34

Sam Abraham was a singer. He used to conduct the choir at the Bethel Marthoma church in his village called Karavaloor near Punalur in Kollam district.

Sofia too was part of the choir. Their families knew each other and when years later Sam and Sofia informed their parents that they were in love and wanted to get married, no one was surprised.

Ten years after their wedding, Sam’s father Samuel Abraham (66) and his mother Leelamma (61) now wish that their son had never been a part of the choir nor had he met Sofia.

Sam’s body was found in his apartment at Epping in Melbourne, Australia on October 14, 2015. He was frothing in the mouth when the police team reached the house and medics could not revive him.

On Thursday, an Australian court found that his wife Sofia and her lover Arun Kamalasanan, had murdered Sam after months of meticulous planning. They were both sentenced to more than 20 years of imprisonment each.

Samuel and Leelamma

Samuel and Leelamma still cannot believe that Sofia, who had been like a daughter to them was capable of murdering their son.

“It was years ago. They were determined to get married. We did not know when they fell in love. Sam spoke to me first, later Sofia also spoke to me. We all knew her as a girl, who grew up in our neighbourhood. There was nothing to object in the relationship,” says Samuel Abraham sitting at his home in Karavaloor.

Leelamma also says they have only fond memories of Sofia.  “We had two sons, and no daughter. And she reciprocated our love, like a daughter. She used to call me Mummy and him Papa, just as Sam did. Not even once did she show any dislike to us," Leelamma says standing near Samuel at the verandah of their house.     

The Victorian Supreme Court found that Arun had drugged the whole family, including Sofia and her then six-year-old child, and later forced Sam to drink orange juice laced with cyanide.

Justice Coghlan said that it was difficult to understand conclusively what role Sofia played in the murder but said that Arun would not have been able to carry it out without Sofia's knowledge.

But there was undeniable proof. Both lovers had kept secret diaries in which they wrote about love, lust and wanting to be with each other. Sofia’s love story with Arun dates back to her time in college.

Around 2003, determined to get married to Sofia only after he had an MBA, Sam moved to Dindigul in Tamil Nadu. Meanwhile, Sofia pursued her postgraduation at the Mahatma Gandhi University in Kottayam. According to Australian media, this is where she met Arun, also a student of science.

In 2008, Sam and Sofia got married. Sam worked at various private banks during the initial years of the wedding.

In 2012, it was Sofia, who first left to Australia with their son, who was three years old then. Almost at the same time, Sam went to Oman to work with Lulu Exchange there.

After one-and-a-half years, Sam joined Sofia in Australia. "He wasn't that ambitious, he preferred to have a job here so he could visit us at least once in a month. But Sofia was keen to live in Australia as her sister had settled down there. Sam had asked her to live with him in Oman, but she insisted that he should join her in Australia," Samuel says.

And months before Sam reached, Arun moved to Australia with his wife in January 2013.

Sam Abraham with parents and brother Sajan Abraham 

On Wednesday, Justice Coghlan read portions of a diary that Sofia had kept and later gave to Arun. On the day he arrived in Australia, she wrote, “We never know why we like someone more than others.” She wrote the day after, “I want to hug you and comfort you.”

Their love notes to each other continued for years. While she wrote that she wanted to sleep in his arms, Arun rued that though Sofia was his best match, he would have to wait to get her.

On July 18, 2015, Sofia wrote, “Planning is always needed in what we do, an idea without a plan is no more than a dream.”

Samuel and Leelamma never suspected Sofia, even after Sam’s death.

Sofia and her son, her sister and her parents had accompanied Sam’s body to Kerala and she had wept with his parents as he was buried.

“For ten months after his death, she used to call us regularly. The last time I spoke to her was a day before the police arrested her. She told me to stay happy, I never found anything suspicious in her behaviour. She did not behave differently, even when she accompanied our son's body. We didn't have an iota of doubt. We went into deep shock when we understood what the police was saying." Leelamma says.                

Sam's younger brother Sajan too did not know if Sofia and Sam’s relationship had soured. Sam had confided in a friend that there was no love between them anymore.

"Her family says that the case was fabricated. But that’s all they can say, right?  Why would the court punish her if the case was fabricated? We are happy that the court gave justice to our son. Sofia's relatives live near our house, but not one of them spoke to us even after she was found guilty," Samuel says.  

Sofia and Arun were caught after months of clandestine investigation. Though the autopsy report had proved that Sam had first been given a sedative in an avocado milk shake that Sofia had made, the cause of death was the cyanide laced orange juice that he was forced to drink as he lay semi-conscious on bed.

But investigators never revealed this to Sofia and tracked her for months. Finally, believing that the trail had gone cold, Sofia and Arun started meeting each other. When she transferred Sam’s car to Arun’s name and started a joint account with him, the police swooped in.    

“This is a very serious example of murder. You were the friend of Mr Abraham,” the judge said while sentencing the duo.  Sofia has been given a prison term of 22 years with a minimum of 18 years while Arun was jailed for 27 years with a minimum of 23.

The judge noted that the biggest victim of this murder was Sofia and Sam’s son, now nine years old, who will have to grow without his father or mother.

It is their grandson that Samuel and Leelamma are now worried about.

The couple want custody of their grandson, who is staying with Sofia's sister in Australia. "As per the rules in Australia, the child should not be informed about the crime. But he is turning ten, old enough to understand what is happening around him. He does a video call with us once in a week, but we won't be able to ask him anything much as Sofia's relatives would be around him.”

They have appealed to the Ministry of External Affairs to intervene. “The Australian government has to decide. Even if we have to sell our property to get money to move court in Australia, we are ready for that. We want our grandson here with us,” Samuel says.  


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