| A child at a rally to protest Rick’s murder. Picture by Sanjoy Chattopadhyaya
Calcutta, Dec. 3: Those who strangled Rick Nath with a piece of cloth watched the five-year-old writhe for a full five minutes till his body grew limp.
Then, to make doubly sure, they squeezed his neck with their bare hands, breaking his voice box.
The post-mortem report on the body, found in a neighbour’s septic tank in Behala with the hands and feet tied, reveals the ruthlessness with which the murderers went about their job.
The report ' a copy is available with The Telegraph ' says there were at least two killers. One pinned the boy down while the other strangled him with the border of a sari.
Neighbour Bela Bose, whom a mob burnt to death on Thursday night, is the prime suspect; the police are looking for the accomplice, South 24-Parganas police chief S.N. Gupta said.
The piece of cloth was loosely wrapped around the child’s wet body when it was brought to the Kantapur morgue, where the post-mortem was done yesterday.
“There was a continuous ligature mark around the child’s neck that suggests he was strangled with a piece of cloth, which was wound around his neck and pulled hard enough to ensure his windpipe was sufficiently compressed, leading to asphyxia (stoppage of breathing),” a morgue official said.
“We matched it (the sari border) with the ligature marks to establish that this was the piece of cloth used to kill him.”
Nail marks were found on the boy’s neck, establishing he was throttled, too.
“The nail marks are that of an adult person and they have been found near the child’s Adam’s apple, which has been fractured because of the pressure of the hands. The killer must have been desperate,” the official said.
Rick’s hands and feet had been tied so tightly ' after his death, the police believe ' that there were bruises on his wrists and legs.
The report indicates Rick died an hour or two after his last meal ' which happened to be breakfast ' implying he was killed between 11.30 am and 12.30 pm on Thursday. The child was last seen at 11.15 am at Bose’s home.
“The boy didn’t drown ... he was strangled to death. Had he been drowned, there would have been traces of mud and sand at the bottom of his trachea (windpipe)' and froth would have emerged from the mouth on compressing the chest. This didn’t happen,” the morgue official said.