2 murder convicts of Australian tourist appeals in HC

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New Delhi, Aug 28 (UNI) Two taxi drivers, who were sentenced to death by a Delhi court for the murder of an Australian tourist Dawn Enelie Griggs four years ago, appealed today in the Delhi High Court against the sentence.

A bench comprising Justices Vikramajit Sen and V K Shaily issued notices to the Delhi Police to reply after four weeks.

Additional Sessions Judge Vinod Kumar on August 11 had sentenced two taxi drivers Jyotish Prasad and Ashish Kumar to death for the rape and murder of Australian tourist they picked up at New Delhi airport.

Dawn Enelie Griggs (59) was killed in March 2004 soon after landing in India to attend a meditation course.

A frequent traveller to the country, she had asked the taxi drivers to take her to her destination, but instead was driven to a deserted field near the airport where she was murdered.

The court said Griggs had struggled against her assailants before being raped and stabbed to death. She was also attacked with a screwdriver.

''Jyotish Prasad and Ashish Kumar, for the offence of brutal murder of the Australian tourist, you be hanged till death,'' Judge Vinod Kumar had said.

''The victim in the present case was a foreigner woman who was totally dependent on the hospitality provided to her by our people.

She was totally defenceless and unprotected,'' the Judge said in his order.

''The victim was of such an age that she should have been seen by the convicts as a motherly figure.'' Prasad's mother broke down on hearing the sentence, while the men showed little emotion.

The defence had argued that there was no direct evidence and no eyewitnesses, and indicated that they would appeal.

India's Supreme Court stipulates that the death penalty be used only in the ''rarest of rare cases.'' A taxi driver and his helper have been found guilty of raping and murdering an Australian tourist which falls under this category.

Dawn Enelie Griggs, the 59-year-old woman from Australia, was found dead near Delhi airport. The police arrested taxi driver Jyotish Prasad and his helper Ashish for rape and murder.

UNI SNG PD GC1926

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