Serial killer with 17 murders to his name on the Telangana police network

HYDERABAD: It is believed that an alleged man, who was released from prison for remission for good conduct, committed at least four more murders after leaving prison in 2018. All of his victims are women who were allegedly killed for their valuables.

Yerukali Srinu, who was arrested by Mahbubnagar police on Friday, had been named as a defendant in at least 13 other murder cases. However, he was acquitted by a trial court in 11 cases in which the police filed appeals.

Police claim that Srinu killed at least five women in 2007, when his alleged wave of murders began. He was arrested and sentenced to life imprisonment by a local court in 2009. However, he was released in early 2013 for good behavior. Police confirmed to TOI that Srinu had escaped from Mahbubnagar prison in 2007. However, he was captured after a few days and was sentenced to two years of rigorous imprisonment.

Police say he began his second round of murders in 2014 and murdered eight women until 2015, when he was again convicted in another murder case. This time, he was sentenced to three years in jail, which led to his release in 2018.

According to police, Srinu has been named in at least 17 murders. If convicted, he would be one of the country's deadliest serial killers. Among his victims was his brother-in-law's mother-in-law with whom he is believed to have had an illicit relationship.

Mahbubnagar SP Rema Rajeshwari said Srinu was arrested on Friday for the murder of a 53-year-old woman, C Aliveamma, a worker. His wife Salamma was also arrested after stolen jewelry was recovered.

During the investigation, Srinu confessed three more murders, all committed last year. One of the cases came to light last week after a skeleton was recovered from a pile of sand stored for a government auction in Abdullapurmet. Srinu confessed that the remains were of a woman he had killed earlier this year.

It was on December 17 that the body of an unknown woman was found in the village of Devarkadra in Mahbubnagar. Police suspected Srinu's participation as the modus operandi was similar. The victim had been strangled, her head had been crushed and jewelry was missing.

After Srinu was arrested, he confessed the murders in the villages of Devarkadra, Boothpur, Abdullapurmet, Kothakota and Midjil. When giving details of the murder of Devarkadra, the defendant said he went to a Toddy complex on December 16 and befriended the victim, Rajeshwari said.

He then had the victim ride in the backseat of his bicycle and headed for Devarkadra. Along the way, they drank more liquor and, finally, when the victim was drunk, Srinu banged his head against the ground, strangled her and stole her gold and silver jewels. It is believed that he gave the jewels to his wife so she could sell them.

The authorities added that the modus operandi was similar in all previous cases, including those in which he was convicted and the 11 acquittals.