The man known for his 'crimes of passion' had received bravery award in the year 2007 from APJ Abdul Kalam.
Expressing their disbelief and shock on Jermoe's involvement in such a brutal act, his classmates remember him as a ambitious boy. "He was one of the most ambitious people I knew. He was in the Class VIII when he decided that he would join the armed forces and went on to become a national-level skater and swimmer," said Jerome' s classmates and close friends at St Matthias School (Jerome's school), Mysore.
Talking about his relationship with Maria Susiaraj, the co-accused in the act, who has been freed now, friends reveal that Jerome was always concerned about her and hence kept a track of her.
"He had borrowed money from a common friend to fly to Mumbai and check on his fiance. It was obviously not a pre-planned murder and Emile did not believe in violence. But, catching Maria red-handed may have driven him into a fit of rage, resulting in the attack and Neeraj's death," said another friend of Jerome.
"Maria was two years senior to Emile and they were not dating in college. Both were members of the same church and that is where I believe their relationship began. Maria was a very friendly person and was known to be quite charming with the boys. She was intensely competitive and it is difficult to imagine her as a killer," said Maria's classmate on Jerome and Maria's relationship.
Jerome's friends had bawled at him on his relationship with Susairaj.
"Emile only dated women of a certain kind. We were very surprised when he started seeing Maria," said a friend.