Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Mumbai man confines and starves wife, three daughters

Mumbai man confines and starves wife, three daughters

Francis Gomes, who has been arrested, didn’t let the women step out of house for 7 years fearing they would be raped

MUMBAI: Look closely at the picture on the right: An ordinary three-storey building, in an ordinary Mumbai neighbourhood. For seven years, residents of Neelambha Cooperative Housing Society at Naigaon (Vasai) had no clue about the plight of three women living in flat number 201 in the building.
However, when a team of social workers and cops barged into the flat on Tuesday, residents came to know that the three women, a woman and her three daughters, had been starved and confined by their patriarch, Francis Gomes (60).


SHIELDING HER eyes from the sudden sunlight Gomes’ wife, Theresa, could only hoarsely whisper to her rescuers: “Take us away.” Speaking with painful slowness, the women revealed their horrifying story. Theresa and Gomes moved into Neelambha seven years ago with their daughters, Elizabeth (27) and Barbara (21). The third daughter’s identity is being withheld. The façade of the normal family quickly lulled neighbours into casual acceptance even when the girls or Theresa were not seen for months on end.
Every morning before he left home, 60-year-old would lock the door giving the impression that the family was away. This continued day after day, week on week and for years together. The women were often denied food and fresh clothing. The windows had been boarded, to prevent entry of sunlight.
Gomes, who has been unemployed for over 15 years, exhibited a streak of possessiveness with his daughters from the time they were born. He stopped them from going out, convinced that they would be raped. He didn’t even allow them to watch TV fearing they would be corrupted. “He was convinced that if our daughters exchanged even a word with strangers, they would be raped,” revealed Theresa. When Barbara failed her TYBSc exam, Gomes hit her so hard that she dislocated her neck. “She can’t keep her head straight. She can’t eat or drink properly due to pain,” Theresa told her rescuers.

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