NEW DELHI - An Indian judge is due to hand down his verdict Monday in a sensational murder trial in which a prosperous dentist couple stand accused of slashing the throats of their teenage daughter and live-in servant.
Rajesh and Nupur Talwar are charged with murdering their only child, 14-year-old Aarushi, and their 45-year-old Nepalese domestic worker Hemraj by slitting their throats "with clinical precision" at their home in an affluent New Delhi suburb on the night of May 15, 2008.
Police allege Aarushi was killed in a fit of rage when her parents found her with the servant in an "objectionable" situation, while the couple insist they are victims of an incompetent investigation and vigilante justice in a case that has gripped the public imagination..
"We loved Arushi, we have no lives without her. This has been a never-ending nightmare," Rajesh Talwar told AFP in a recent interview outside the rundown courtroom where the witness stand is held together by rope and monkeys romp on the roof.
The prosecution concedes there is no forensic or material evidence against the couple, basing its case on the "last-seen theory" - which holds that the victims were last seen with the accused.
Her parents say they found Aarushi dead on her bed.
Police initially blamed the Talwars' missing Nepalese servant for the murder, only to discover his body on the roof a day later. His throat was also cut and he had a head wound.
Officers then arrested Rajesh Talwar's Nepalese dental assistant along with two other local servants who hailed from Nepal, Hemraj's friends.