Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

Four Indian Bus Rapists Sentenced to Death

Jyoti Singh Pandey

Jyoti Singh Pandey

The women in India are satisfied with the outcome of the trial of four adult men accused of brutally beating young couple, Jyoti Singh Pandey, 23, (referred to in a number of reports as Nirbhaya) and boyfriend Awindra Pandey, with a metal rod on December 16, 2012, and then raping Singh Pandey so savagely that she died from her wounds after a 13-day ordeal.

The bus attack lasted two hours with a badly injured Pandey, incapacitated by several broken limbs, unable to help the woman. Finally the men tired of their sport and threw the couple off the moving bus, tried to run them over and sped away. Luckily Pandey was able to drag Singh Pandey to safety before the bus could finish the job her assailants had started. He later recalled how, staggering, bleeding, begging for help in the street, no one came to his aid. He even related to the media how police found them and argued over their bodies about who’s problem they were.

Jyoti Singh Pandey

Jyoti Singh Pandey

Singh Pandey was bleeding badly internally from having been sexually assaulted with the metal rod, and was eventually rushed to an organ transplant hospital in Singapore where she gave up her fight for life on December 29. Even so she did regain consciousness at least long enough to be deposed by a magistrate.

Police quickly made an arrest, four men and two underage male teens,  all six reportedly tied to the crime by DNA evidence, though one teen was released almost immediately. The assailants, Mukesh Singh, 26, Akshay Thakur, 28, Pawan Gupta, 19, and Vinay Sharma, 20, were tried in for abduction, rape and murder, among other charges. So heinous was their crime that all but one attorney refused to represent them in court.

The youth was sentenced on August 31, 2013, in juvenile court to three years in juvie, even tough according to Singh Pandey’s deposition, he was the most savage of her attackers. The public was naturally outraged, but not just because the sentence did not seem commensurate with the crime, but because it would not be much of a deterrent to the next budding young sociopath.

The adults were sentenced to death on September 10, 2013. At the sentencing, the judge described their crime as “beastly” and “hair raising”, and so grave as to be intolerable, concluding that it qualified as the “rarest of rare” circumstances in which capital punishment is clearly warranted.

The overwhelming majority of Indians seem to feel that justice has been served, though it is not at all clear if and when the punishment will be meted out. For now Indian women are calling this a victory.

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