Delhi double murder: Parents sentenced to life in prison

Delhi double murder: Parents sentenced to life in prison
In this photograph taken on November 25, 2013, Rajesh Talwar (second from left) and his wife Nupur Talwar arrive at Dasna Prison in a police van in Ghaziabad, some 35 kms east of New Delhi.

An Indian court has sentenced a dental surgeon and his orthodontist wife to life in prison for the gruesome murder of their teenage daughter and a male servant.

In his order on Tuesday, Judge Shyam Lal called Rajesh Talwar, 49, and his wife, Nupur, 47, "freaks in the history of mankind where the father and mother became the killer of their own progeny".

"It is life," said Mr Naresh Yadav, a lawyer who was present in court, to reporters waiting on Tuesday to hear the sentence outside the court in Ghaziabad, a Delhi satellite city, a day after the court found the couple guilty of murder and destruction of evidence.

The 2008 murders of 14-year-old Aarushi Talwar and Mr Hemraj Banjade, 45, a live-in domestic worker from Nepal who had been with the Talwar family for eight months, has shocked, outraged and baffled India for more than five years.

Lawyers for the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) had asked for the death penalty, arguing that the murder was "cold-blooded" and "the rarest of rare", which carries a mandatory death sentence in India.

The defence had urged leniency, saying the couple did not have criminal records. The Talwars seemed to be leading typical middle class lives when they moved to Noida, a Delhi suburb, to be near Aarushi's grandparents.

But on May 16, 2008, Aarushi was found with her throat slit in the family's three-bedroom apartment. Two days later, Mr Hemraj's decomposed body was found on the roof of the apartment block.

Federal investigators tried to dismiss the case in 2011 for lack of evidence but the local court said the parents should be tried. Both husband and wife were charged with murder and released on bail before being arrested after the verdict was out.

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