Ram Singh, a suspect in the gang-rape of an Indian student in New Delhi last year, has committed suicide in prison.
According to reports on Indian television, Singh, 35, was found hanged at the Tihar Jail at about 5am local time
“Yes, he is dead,” the official said in the control room of the jail.
He was due to go on trial for his role in the rape and murder of the 23-year-old female student and the violent assault of her male companion, a crime which shocked India and led to an outpouring of anger towards the six accused.
Singh appeared to have a key role in the attack, which took place on Dec 16. He drove the bus that the woman and her friend were lured on to before she was beaten, gang raped and then dumped naked on the street.
The woman, a trainee physiotherapist, died 13 days later from her injuries. Her male companion survived with a broken leg.
He knew he was going to die anyway because we had and still have such a strong case against him,” her 20-year-old brother told Reuters.
“I’m not very thrilled with the news that he killed himself because I wanted him to be hanged … publicly. Him dying on his own terms seems unfair. But, oh well, one is down. Hopefully the rest will wait for their death sentence.”
The trial of the five adult men began in a special fast-track court last month while the juvenile’s trial began last week. Ram Singh’s brother Mukesh Singh, gym assistant Vinay Sharma, bus cleaner Akshay Kumar Singh and fruit vendor Pawan Kumar are the other men on trial.
Police allege the six attacked the woman and her male companion on the bus as the couple returned home after watching a movie on Dec. 16. The woman was repeatedly raped and tortured with a metal bar. The couple were also severely beaten before being thrown onto a road.
Singh’s neighbours in the south Delhi slum where he lived described him as a heavy drinker with a temper. One young woman said he used to get embroiled in violent rows and a relative recalled a physical altercation with her husband.