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Coimbatore: A 34-year old man was on Friday sentenced to death by a special court here for rape and murder of a seven-year old girl nine months ago on the city outskirts.

The victim's mother hailed the verdict, saying it should be a deterrent in future to "such beasts".

Judge R Radhika of the special court for Protection of Children from Sexual Offences Act (POCSO) cases held Santhoshkumar guilty under various sections of the Indian Penal Code and the POCSO and awarded the capital punishment.

According to prosecution, Santhoshkumar had allegedly raped and murdered the girl, daughter of a neighbour of his grandmother, at Pannimadai and dumped the body in a garbage bin on March 25.

Santhoshkumar was arrested on March 31 days after the girl was found dead with her limbs tied and the body bearing injuries with the incident triggering protests by locals.

He was thrashed by an angry group of public when he was brought to the government hospital here for medical check up after his arrest.

The trial in the case was proceeding in the Mahila Court, which has now been designated the POCSO court, and 32 witnesses were examined.

Judge Radhika awarded death sentence for murder, life imprisonment for rape and seven year imprisonment for destroying evidence under IPC and POCSO sections.

Passing orders on a petition by the girl's mother seeking arrest of another person whose alleged involvement in the crime came to light recently after DNA tests, the judge ordered the police to further investigate the case.

Welcoming the judgement, the girl's mother thanked the Judge for awarding death sentence to the rapist and expressed hope it would act as a deterrent in future.

Such heinous crimes against children should not be repeated again and 'such beasts' should learn a lesson from this, she said adding she was ready to lead a protest if such incidents occurred anywhere.

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