London, May 26: Sometimes the dream of Indian immigrants who come to England in search of a better life turns into a nightmare. “If only we hadn’t come, this wouldn’t have happened,” they say, when confronted with the worst kind of tragedy.
Such a pitiful situation faces the parents of Jeshma Raithatha, a pretty 17-year-old girl with ambitions of making it big in the music world.
After having gone missing for over a week from her home in Greenford, an Indian area in west London not far from Heathrow, the worst fears of her parents ' and the police ' were found to be justified.
On Tuesday morning, Jeshma’s body was discovered in thick undergrowth close to where she lived. She had been repeatedly stabbed.
Her father Suresh and mother Manjula said: “The family is devastated and is distressed at this time and requests that the media now respect our privacy and allow us to grieve in peace. Our beautiful and loving daughter has been taken away from us by an evil person. If anyone has seen or knows anything that will help catch her killer, please contact police.”
Jeshma was last seen by a staff member at Claremont High School in Kenton, north-west London ' where she was a sixth-form pupil ' at 2 pm on May 16. She had been studying for her examinations. She failed to return home that evening and was reported missing by her parents.
Jeshma was a promising student who was looking forward to university. She turned 18 last Thursday, but missed her birthday celebrations. She had also been due to sit for her first A-Level exam on Monday.
Like many people her age, Jeshma wanted to be a professional singer and wrote of her ambitions on several websites.
On one site she said she could perform in English and Hindi and offered recordings for radio, television, documentaries and films.
“I am used to performing in front of an audience,” she wrote.
“I go to singing lessons to keep training my voice further. I songwrite and I am into music and I used to be in a choir at a younger age.”
Jeshma’s family has described her disappearance as “completely out of character”.
When she disappeared, she was wearing a blue jumper and navy blue jeans and carrying a black schoolbag with red hearts.
Her body was found by police officers searching for her in dense bushes running around the perimeter of a recreation ground close to a David Lloyd leisure centre. It was apparently not visible from the pathway beside the bushes.
When Jeshma was late coming home from a revision class and it had started to rain, her worried mother called her mobile phone and also sent an SMS.
“She always replies to a text message,” she said.
When she called the police at 10 pm, she was given the impression “that it was not unusual for a 17-year-old or 18-year-old to be gone for a few hours”.