The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday cleared the way for the hanging of serial killer and rapist Umesh Reddy who sexually assaulted, robbed and murdered several women in different parts of the country, and also broke out of prison three times. The bench rejected the convict’s appeal to commute the death penalty awarded to him to a life sentence. Justices Aravind Kumar and Pradeep Singh Yerur noted that the nature of the crimes did not merit any leniency. President Ram Nath Kovind has already rejected his mercy petition.
Umesh Reddy allegedly raped, robbed and killed over 20 women across the country. Most of his victims were from Karnataka, though he also committed crimes in Maharashtra, Gujarat and Kashmir. Reddy was first arrested in 1997 in a rape and murder case. He managed to flee from Ballari Hindalga prison when he was in judicial custody. Police could not trace him until another rape and murder of a widow surfaced in Chitradurga in 1998. Reddy was arrested, but he again escaped from police custody while being taken to court to be produced before a magistrate.
Apart from being a dreaded rapist and killer, Umesh Reddy was also an expert prison breaker. He escaped from jail three times. Ballari Hindalga prison is the biggest in Karnataka and one of the safest in the country. Almost all the notorious criminals in the state are held there. There is no history of any prisoners escaping from high-security jail, except Umesh Reddy.
After escaping from the police in 1998, he was found in Bengaluru in 2002. The police had issued a red alert and a bounty to nab him. Reddy was spotted in a salon in Bengaluru’s Yeshwanthpur. The owner of the establishment had alerted the authorities. Peenya police rushed to the salon and caught him.
‘Sex maniac and psychopath’
Assistant commissioner of police SK Umesh was the Peenya police inspector at the time. “He is a sex maniac and a psychopath. I was the investigating officer of the case. My team and I made sure all the evidence was collected and produced before the court. In many cases, criminals escape from the judiciary just because of a lack of evidence and witnesses. Now I am really happy. The Sessions Court had given the death sentence, but he had pleaded for mercy. The President didn’t pay heed to the mercy petition and also the High Court. Psychopaths like Umesh Reddy are toxic to society and they inspire many such criminals. His life and court verdict should be a lesson for other criminals,” the ACP told News18.
During police questioning, Umesh Reddy confessed to 18 rapes and murders, out of which the police were able to prove 11 in court. Officials suspect he was involved in more than 20 rape, murder and robbery cases.
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Hunted at night
Umesh Reddy was like a nomad and he travelled across the country. He never stayed in the same place for over a year. He would target women who were alone at home and broke into their houses during the night. He would then rape the victims, rob them and murder them. He is a psychopath and enjoyed killing women, said a policeman who was part of the investigation.
Reddy raped and murdered a woman in November 1996 in KEB Colony of Chitradurga. Earlier the same year he had attempted to rape a young girl. In July 1997, he was arrested by police, but he escaped within 24 hours. He was again arrested and sent to Ballari prison and he broke out in March 1997. He was again held and got away once more in 1998. He raped three young girls in Hubli, Davanagere and Pune. He raped and murdered a CRPF commandant’s daughter in Kashmir. A rape and murder case was registered against him in Peenya police limits of Bengaluru north division in 2002. He was arrested from a salon, and this time there was no escape.