How Many Women Did Umesh Reddy Kill? Who Were His Victims?

Image Credit: Bangalore Mirror

Netflix’s ‘Beast of Bangalore’ chronicles the crimes committed by Indian serial rapist and killer Umesh Reddy, who is accused of raping and murdering at least 20 women in Bangalore, Maharashtra, and Gujarat between 1996 and 2002. He was actually convicted in only nine cases, even though he’d admitted to slaying 18 women owing to lack of evidence. Therefore, he was a death row convict for over 16 years, just for his sentence to be reduced in late 2022. So who were his victims, and what precisely was his modus operandi? Let’s find out. 

Predatory Pattern: Targeting Vulnerable Women

Umesh was reportedly extremely careful in choosing his victims, usually targeting housewives between 11:00 am and 3:00 pm to avoid the men of the household. Most homes at that time had the men going to work while the children were at school, allowing him to commit his crimes rather smoothly. According to this ‘Indian Predator’ installment, his excuse to enter the victims’ houses ranged from enquiring about an address to requesting a glass of water. Upon gaining entry, he always brandished a knife and forced the helpless women to strip out their clothes before tying them up.

One of the most common aspects of his modus operandi was choking his victims till they were unconscious. He then proceeded to rape them. After committing the sexual assaults, he would remove their jewelry and steal other valuables to make it appear like a robbery gone wrong. He even stole the undergarments of the victims to fuel his fetish for crossdressing and was arrested multiple times while wearing women’s lingerie.

Umesh was actually apprehended for good by Bangalore police near Yeshwanthpur railway station in May 2002, leading him to confess to murdering 18 women. He was later convicted in nine of those cases, while the remaining were dismissed due to lack of evidence. However, the authorities allege he might be involved in at least 20 rapes in Karnataka, Maharashtra, and Gujarat. But the victims refused to come forward due to the fear of social stigma.

Umesh Reddy’s Victims

Umesh’s first alleged rape victim is the daughter of a Jammu and Kashmir Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) commandant whose house he was tasked with guarding as a recruit. He then fled to his home district of Chitradurga to join another law enforcement agency — the District Armed Reserve (DAR) police. Taking advantage of the absence of a system to run background checks, he donned another law agency uniform and was then involved in a string of rapes, attempted rapes, and murders before he was arrested in January 1997.

According to the show, his first confirmed victim was a woman named Divya, whom he assaulted and raped. He went on to rape another woman, a milkman’s daughter named Geeta, on December 4, 1996, and then tried to rape a minor schoolgirl named Pallavi, then 16, while she was walking at KEB Colony in Chitradurga on December 6. Pallavi was able to fight him off, but he reportedly managed to rape and murder another minor girl, Roopa, 16, who belonged to the same locality. However, he was arrested in January 1997 when Divya managed to identify him in a Republic Day parade.

Umesh escaped from police custody shortly after, following which he robbed, assaulted, and killed several more women. They included an income-tax officer’s wife in Bangalore, a widow in the nearby Kunigal, and three more Gujarati girls, two in Baroda and one in Ahmedabad. He was again arrested, this time by the Peenya Police, in July 1997, while he had a bag full of women’s undergarments (the ones he stole from his victims and random houses) in his possession. According to news reports, he was reportedly even found to be wearing ladies’ lingerie at the time of the arrest.

During a rigorous interrogative session, Umesh admitted to two more victims — Sandhya on June 14, 1997, and Veena on June 18, 1997. However, Umesh again managed to escape while being transferred to the MICO Layout police station for further interrogation. His most horrific crime, though, can be traced to Peenya in Bangalore, where he allegedly had repeated sexual intercourse with the corpse of Jayashree Subbiah, a 37-year-old widow, on February 28, 1998.

Image Credit: The News Indian Express

As Umesh was engaged in his necrophilic activities, Jayashree’s 8-year-old son, Suresh, walked in to catch him in the act. He then devised a plan to flee by feeding the child a story of how his mother was possessed by spirits. He told him he was trying exorcism on her to help her. And later, he was again caught after a failed attempt to rape another local woman. Umesh actually sprained his ankle while trying to run off this time around and was handed over to the authorities by the neighbors. According to the show, his other victims in that year included Nithya on March 2, 1998. 

Umesh managed to flee two more times from the authority before he was finally caught for good by Bangalore police on May 17, 2002. He was later sentenced to death on October 26, 2006, along with a seven-year and a ten-year prison term with fines of Rs 25,000 for each. He remained on death row for about 16 years before the Supreme Court commuted his death sentence to 30 years imprisonment on November 4, 2022.

Read More: Umesh Reddy: Where is Bangalore Beast Now?