Kevin murder trial: 2 more switch sides taking number of hostile witnesses to 5

Kottayam youth - who fell victim to honour killing.

Kottayam: In a surprising turn of events, two more witnesses in Kevin murder case have turned hostile during the Kevin murder trial.

The witnesses- Sulaiman, Alan- changed their statements during the trial. The former is the neighbour of the eighth accused, Nishad whereas the latter is an employee at a petrol pump in Kottayam where the accused stopped on the day of the incident. Salaiman had initially stated that he witnessed Nishad's phone being handed over to the police during evidence collection. Alan had testified that he heard the accused converse amongst themselves when they stopped at the Nellippally petrol pump.

Neighbours of the second accused Niyas Mon--Suneesh (witness 91) and Muneer (witness 92)-- had changed statements in court in favour of the accused earlier. Witness 28, Ebin Pradeep (Umesh) had also turned hostile.

The duo had earlier told crime branch DYSP that they saw the police recovering a mobile phone from Niyas’s house on June 7, 2018. They however, denied this statement in court. Subsequently, they were declared hostile.

‘I'm not sure why the police arrived at Niyas’s house. I haven't seen them recover his mobile phone from there. The police has made me sign on some papers. I'm not aware what is detailed in them,’ Suneesh told the court.

Muneer too gave a similar statement: ‘I know Niyas from a young age. Police had come to his house. But I didn’t see them recovering his phone. They told me to sign some blank papers.’

Meanwhile, Alex P Chacko, a local, said he saw the seventh accused Shefin Shajad finding Kevin’s dhoti in police’s presence from Chaliyakkara River, Kollam, where he was found dead. He positively identified Shefin in court.

Another local, Harikumar, said he saw the tenth accused Vishnu recover four machetes used during the incident. The items were recovered in police presence from under a bridge on Moolakkuzhi-Shasthakonam Road. He verified Vishnu and the machetes in court.

Kevin P Joseph, a 23-year-old Dalit Christian youth, was brutally killed on May 27 2018 by a gang led by Sanu, the eldest brother of his fiance. He had earned the wrath of his fiance Neenu's family for going ahead with plans to marry her despite the objection posed by her parents and brother.

The Kevin murder trial which began in February is expected to be completed in six months as it comes under the category of honour killing.