Man admits killing NHS nurse wife and her two children, 4 and 6, in their home

5 April 2023, 17:17 | Updated: 6 April 2023, 08:31

Saju Chelavalel (left) has admitted killing his NHS nurse wife Anju Ashok (right) and her two young children.
Saju Chelavalel (left) has admitted killing his NHS nurse wife Anju Ashok (right) and her two young children. Picture: Police/Family Photo

By Chris Samuel

A man, 52, has admitted killing his NHS nurse wife and her two young children.

Appearing at Northampton Crown Court on Wednesday, Saju Chelavalel admitted murdering his wife Anju Ashok, 35, and her children, Jeeva Saju, six, and Janvi Saju, four.

Police were called to a flat in Petherton Court, Kettering at about 11.15am on December 15, 2022, and found Ms Asok, an NHS nurse, and her children with serious injuries.

Anju was pronounced dead at the scene, while the children were taken to Kettering General Hospital where they later died.

A forensic post-mortem concluded that all three died of asphyxiation, but a coroner's inquest opened in January heard that the medical cause of death for the children had been listed as strangulation, while Ms Ashok died of asphyxia.

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Chelavalel, who was assisted by an interpreter in the dock, answered "guilty" to two of the counts he faced, but in relation to the charge of murdering Jeeva, he replied: "I don't know what happened to the children, but I plead guilty."

Adjourning the case, Judge David Herbert KC said: "There can only be one sentence in law, namely a life sentence, but the judge dealing with your case on that day will have to set the appropriate minimum term."

Chelavalel has been remanded back in custody and is due to be sentenced at the same court on July 3.

Anju Ashok (pictured), 35, and her children, Jeeva Saju, six, and Janvi Saju, four, were murdered by Saju Chelavalel just days before Christmas
Anju Ashok (pictured), 35, and her children, Jeeva Saju, six, and Janvi Saju, four, were murdered by Saju Chelavalel just days before Christmas. Picture: Family Photos
Saju Chelavalel
Saju Chelavalel . Picture: Northamptonshire Police

Deborah Needham, CEO of Kettering General Hospital, where Ms Ashok worked, described her as "a committed and compassionate staff nurse, who was loved and respected by her dear friends and colleagues".

Detective Inspector Simon Barnes, senior investigating officer at Northamptonshire Police, said: "This was an absolutely tragic case and there are no words to articulate the devastation Saju Chelavalel caused when he chose to end the lives of Anju, Jeeva and Janvi.

Chelavalel has been remanded back in custody is due to be sentenced at the same court on July 3.
Chelavalel has been remanded back in custody is due to be sentenced at the same court on July 3. Picture: PA

"I am pleased that he has pleaded guilty and spared Anju's family and friends the pain of a trial. He will have to live with what he has done forever and I hope one day, he truly comprehends the pain his actions have caused.

"Anju Asok will be remembered as so much more than this man's victim. She was a dedicated nurse, loving mother, and loyal friend."

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Jeeva and Janvi attended Kettering Park Infant Academy in Park Avenue.

Following their deaths, the school’s headteacher described them as "delightful and caring children who had many friends".

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