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Man accused of raping British tourist escapes police custody for the third time

A man accused of raping a British tourist in Goa in 2018 has given authorities the slip for a third time – and they have been left baffled at how he's managed to do it.

Ramchandran Yellappa, 32, was being held in Goa’s central jail and was last seen at around 6.10am on Tuesday morning when he complained of a stomach ache and was referred to the dispensary within the jail premises.

But instead of going to the pharmacy, he went missing en-route.

He was reported as missing 20 minutes later.

Mr Yellappa is accused of the rape and robbery of a 48-year-old British woman in December 2018.

The alleged victim says she was attacked at night as she walked to a guesthouse near Palolem beach after her train from the nearby town of Canacona was delayed.

She says she was dragged into a paddy field, where she was raped and her passport and belongings stolen, including 20,000 rupees (£213) in cash.

Ramchandran Yellappa was first arrested by the Goa police on December 6, 2018 in North Goa in connection with two separate incidents of robbery.

But he slipped from their custody and went on to commit the robbery and rape of a British woman in South Goa a few weeks later.

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Last June, on a visit to court, Yellappa sought the leave of his police escort to visit the toilet but escaped by removing the glass panels that covered a ventilator at the court complex.

Now, jail authorities have said that an examination of CCTV footage shows Yellappa didn’t exit through the main gate, which is the only way in and out of the complex.

Instead, it is being considered that he could be hiding within the complex or could have somehow scaled the high walls that surround the jail complex.

“We are also confused over what happened to him and if he has escaped, how he managed to pull it off,” an anonymous jail official is reported to have told the Hindustan Times.

“We have searched every nook and corner of the jail and have not been able to find him. Neither is there any evidence of tunnelling or him having scaled the walls,” the official said.

The official added: “Even if a prisoner seeking to escape manages to get through one wall, he will only end up staring at the second wall that is even higher and believed to be impossible to climb over”

Another official speaking to HT, said he believed that Yellappa could have escaped with the help of an insider who either smuggled him out or helped him escape.

Additional Inspector General (IG) of prisons, Ashutosh Apte, said that a preliminary inquiry into the incident has found three guards guilty of dereliction of duty and they have been placed under suspension.

Mr Apte said: “They allowed the prisoner to walk unaccompanied. They have been suspended on account of the lapses.

"We are viewing this incident very seriously and if others are found to be at fault during the course of the inquiry, action will be taken against them too."

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