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Life in prison for Kettering family murder

|News, Domestic abuse , Violent crime

A Kettering man has been given a life sentence for murdering his wife and children in their home in December 2022.

Saju Chelavalel (52) strangled his wife Anju Asok and their two children Jeeva and Janvi Saju (aged 6 and 4 respectively) during the night of 14 and 15 December. The couple, originally from Kerala in India, had moved to the UK to enable Ms Asok to pursue her career in nursing. Chelavalel claimed her had become upset by what he perceived of Ms Asok’s interactions with others. He made unfounded claims that she was being unfaithful to him, although there was no evidence of any such infidelity.

On the night of the murders, Chelavalel claimed all was normal until he discovered Ms Asok on her mobile phone. He claimed he lost control when he discovered her on her mobile phone and in the subsequent argument she made comments he could not accept. He strangled her with a dressing-gown cord, then attempted to drug Jeeva and Janvi before killing them in the same way.

He left a long detailed letter outlining his actions, implying a suicide attempt and requesting that the whole family be cremated and repatriated to India. Instead of committing suicide, he drank about a litre of whisky. The tragic events were discovered the next morning when friends called at their flat out of concern for their welfare.

Chelavalel pleaded guilty to murdering all three at a hearing at Northampton Crown Court in April 2023. He was today, Monday 3 July, sentenced to life in prison with a minimum term of 40 years.

Suzanne Llewellyn from the CPS said: “This tragedy was brought about by Saju Chelavalel’s unfounded claims about his wife’s infidelity. Anju Asok came to the UK to pursue her career and she and her children had their whole lives ahead of them. Instead, they were cut short in the saddest possible way – at the hands of the one person they trusted most.

“Although Chelalavel pleaded guilty at the first opportunity, we have had to remind the court that these killings were of the utmost seriousness. He abused a position of strength and trust, turning on his young children after he had killed their mother.

“Our thoughts are with Anju, Jeeva and Janvi’s family who are devastated by their sudden loss and will be at a loss to understand how it could have come about.”

Notes to editors

  • Suzanne Llewellyn is the Chief Crown Prosecutor for CPS East Midlands.

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