The man who killed five members of a family in Mizoram capital Aizawl on Friday night has told a court he had been working as a carpenter at the victims’ home and had not been paid a month’s wage, which he said he went to collect that night with plans to to take home gifts for his two young children.
Laltlanchhuaha appeared before a camp court in the Central Jail just outside Aizawl on Saturday evening and confessed he did kill the five people he is accused of murdering, and that it began after the head of the family, Sangliansiama, told him he did not have the money and he would pay him when he did.
He said he had some wares he was selling to supplement his income when he went to the house, which he offered to sell to them, but when Sabgliansiama said he did not want to buy it he asked for his wage.
A wood carpenter normally earns about Rs 700 per day in Aizawl, but the figure is not constant.
Laltlanchhuaha told the court he knew the family was well-off and he suddenly became angry when he thought of his own economic condition and his two children (Besides working as a wood carpenter on daily wage, he also used to assist his father, a butcher).
He said he was in a fit of rage when he stabbed Sangliansiama with a knife he said he always carried with him – he claimed he always kept it in the trunk of his scooter after he was attacked some time ago by a group of men at Rangvamual, a locality on Aizawl’s western outskirts infamous as a liquor den.
Laltlanchhuaha told the court Sangliansiama’s wife then started screaming and made for the door, after which he pulled her back inside, stabbed her and killed her too.
He claimed before the court that he killed the rest of the family except the domestic help (who hid herself in the bathroom) because they all started screaming and “coming towards me”, saying this included the couple’s kindergarten-going son, a teenager who is their relative and was staying with them at the time, and Sangliansiama’s sister.
He was able to identify all his victims when their pictures were shown to him during the hearing.
When the judge asked him if he was under the influence, Laltlanchhuaha said he had drunk a bottle of grape juice – which is normally sold openly in shops although known to make some tipsy – but that he has never tried drugs.
He has had no criminal record until now.
Laltlanchhuaha said he knew Sangliansiama from before and they used to participate in church activities together – they both belong to the Salvation Army denomination, which locals say has only a few of members in the neighbourhood they both belong to compared to larger denominations there.
He told the court images of his wife and two children flashed in his mind during the murderous ordeal, which he recalls as having taken place over about half an hour.
The accused had to be produced before the camp court on a stretcher because of severe back injuries he sustained when he fell about 40-feet from the house’s balcony and landed on the tin roof of a shack downstairs, where a school hostel is located.
He was caught there by the hostel students and then by neighbours before police arrived and took him into custody. He was thrashed by locals but the injuries he sustained amount mostly to bruises and cuts, including on his head.
Armed police have been posted outside the Central Jail as the authorities fear a mob such as that which asked Laltlanchhuaha be handed to them attempts to head towards the facility.