The Karnataka High Court on Wednesday upheld a lower court verdict of capital punishment against Umesh Reddy, whose record of rapes and murders had rocked the state a decade ago and prompted the press to call him the state’s ‘Jack the Ripper’.
Describing Reddy as “a devil in the garb of a man”, Justice S.R. Bannurmath upheld the judgment in connection with the February 28, 1998 rape and murder of a young widow. Her 11-year-old son was the lone witness. The local court held him guilty on October 26, 2006, and sentenced him to death.
However, judges of the high court differed on the quantum of sentence when Reddy appealed. On October 4, 2007, while one judge confirmed the death penalty, another modified it to rigorous imprisonment. In view of this divergence, the case was referred to Bannurmath, a senior judge.
Reddy, a former constable, was chargesheeted in 21 cases of rape, dacoity and murder, acquitted in 11. Three cases are being probed.