Abhaya murder case: Sister Sephy moves HC seeking suspension of sentence

Abhaya murder case: Sister Sephy moves HC seeking suspension of sentence
Sister Sephy. File photo

Kochi: A nun convicted in the Sister Abhaya murder case moved the Kerala High Court on Thursday, seeking to suspend the sentence pending disposal of the appeal filed against the verdict of the Special CBI court, Thiruvananthapuram, awarding her life sentence.

In her plea, Sister Sephy, who has challenged her conviction before the high court last month, alleged she was convicted only on the basis of assumption and not evidence.

Seeking to suspend her sentence, the 58-year-old nun submitted she was advised that there is every likelihood of the criminal appeal being allowed and she being acquitted.

In its December 23 judgment, the CBI special court had awarded double life sentence to Father Kottoor and imposed a fine of Rs 6.5 lakh on him.

Sister Sephy was sentenced to life imprisonment and a fine of Rs 5.5 lakh was slapped on her.

The court had found them guilty of the murder of Sister Abhaya, who was found dead in a well in St Pius convent in Kottayam in 1992.

In her plea, Sephy said, "after assuming that A1 (Kottoor) and A3 (Sephy) were present in the kitchen (convent) at about 4:30 am, the court assumed they were having sex there... the court assumed Sr Abhaya happened to witness it. Then the court assumed that A1 and A3 hit Sr Abhaya on the head with a weapon (hatchet)."

"The court further assumed Abhaya fell unconscious. The court lastly assumed that A1 and A3 threw her alive into the well. This is how it convicted the accused of murder," she submitted.

Referring to several court verdicts, the nun submitted even double presumption was illegal and claimed the only basis for the conviction was assumptions and not evidence.

Abhaya (21), a second year student of the BCM college, Kottayam, was staying at St Pius convent.

Another accused, Fr Jose Puthrikkayil was discharged earlier following lack of evidence.

According to the prosecution, Kottoor and Puthrikkayil allegedly had an illicit relationship with Sephy, also an inmate of the convent.

On the night of March 27, 1992, Abhaya allegedly saw Kottoor and Sephy in a compromising position, following which the three accused hacked her with an axe and threw her into the well, the CBI said in its charge sheet.

They were arrested in 2008 and released on bail by the Kerala High Court a year later.

(With PTI inputs)

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