'Justice' | 

Liga Skromane’s killers given life sentences for her murder in India

Liga (33) had travelled to India with her sister in 2018 when she was brutally murdered by two men in the southern state of Kerala.

Liga and Ilze Skromane

Alisha Rahaman Sarkar and Maeve McTaggartSunday World

Two men convicted of the murder of Liga Skromane in India have been given life sentences.

Latvian native Liga (33) had travelled to the southern Indian state of Kerala with her sister Ilze Skromane four years ago to seek treatment for depression when she went missing.

Liga had been living in Ireland with her partner Andrew Jordan, an Irishman from Swords, when she left for India.

She went missing from a wellness resort where she was having ayurvedic treatment near the coastal town of Kovalam on March 14, 2018.

Ilze said Liga went to buy cigarettes, but never returned.

Liga’s body was found over a month later by two local fishermen, turning the missing persons case into a murder investigati on.

Her decomposed remains were discovered in a forest nearly 30km away from where she was staying.

An Indian tour guide and a drug peddler friend were later convicted of her abduction, rape and murder.

Umesh (31) and Udayakumar (27) have now been pronounced guilty of the rape, murder and abduction of Liga Skromane and the sale of narcotic substance.

The court observed that both the men lured the Latvian tourist with marijuana and “drugged her heavily” before raping and strangling her.

Judge K Sanil Kumar ordered that the accused will serve a prison sentence until death and will not be eligible for remission or parole.

Both the men have been fined Rs 165,000 (£1,640) each, which the court said will be directed to the family of the victim.

The convicts pleaded not guilty to the crime in court and reportedly demanded a polygraph test to prove their innocence after the pronouncement of the verdict.

Liga’s sister Ilze filed a missing person complaint with the local police and went to several locations to trace her sister while declaring a reward for information.

Reacting to the sentencing on Facebook, Ilze said: “Today justice has been served for my dear sister, Liga!

“Thank you to my parents for giving me such a wonderful sister whose memories I will cherish always.

“Thank you to all the people who fought with me side by side. No words are great enough to fully express my gratitude to you!

Ilze thanked the legal team, officers, friends and family who “helped with all they could when she went missing.”

"Thank you to all the police forces who genuinely cared to find Liga and to investigate the case, thank you to all my friends and loved ones for your care and support, thank you to all the witnesses for their courage to tell the truth, thank you all the Keralites who cared, prayed and supported me any way they could.

"Next time I will be back in Kerala it will be a brand new and a very different kind of journey!

“With love, Ilze,” she concluded.

Prior to the conviction, Liga's partner Andrew told the Irish Mirror that the trial had “stirred many emotions.”

“Relief in some parts that light is shed on dark deeds, sorrow for her family’s broken hearts, bitterness towards those responsible, love for the brave souls who are fighting the good fight, and the one who went down fighting."

Special public prosecutor G Mohan Raj called the verdict an “exemplary judgment”.

“The case fulfilled more than one parameter that the Supreme Court had laid down to judge a case as rarest of the rare,” he was quoted by The New Indian Express as saying.

“The verdict will have a strong deterrence effect and is a better punishment than death. We are satisfied over the judgment.”

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