The Murder Of Agnel Wilson

The Murder Of Agnel Wilson

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                                         The murder of Agnel Wilson has been one of the most talked about events in the Christian Colony, Orlem, Malad East, Mumbai, for several years after it happened. Bungalow No. 237 still continues to be a source of intrigue, and a hot topic for gossip and speculation, amongst the residents of this Colony.

237, which lies empty and abandoned today, used to be the residence of the Wilson family -- young, handsome Agnel Wilson, his seemingly demure but ostensibly beautiful wife Rebecca, and their infant girl, Mary Wilson.

“But since Agnel died and Rebecca was taken away by them, no family has come to live here. This house has been on the market for five years, but no one has bought it yet. People are scared because of the rumors surrounding the house…” Mrs. Gonzalez, from Bungalow 239 suddenly lowers her eyes, and stops talking, hesitation  at saying anything further writ large on her face.

The rumors surrounding the Wilson residence are many, and disparate, and all of them as yet unverified. The reason this house repels potential buyers like the very plague is grounded in the apparently unfounded belief that this place is haunted.

Yes. The tragedy that destroyed the Wilson family looms over this bungalow like a curse…and residents claim to have actually seen manifestations of this infamous curse. The very much dead Agnel himself, roaming around in his house even after death, crying hoarse about his murder, and justice. The house, in itself, cuts a forlorn figure -- decrepit, dilapidated and ominous-looking, screaming its desolation, the curse that lies on its head, and the tragedies it holds within its walls. The trees and plants surrounding the house have withered away, and wild plants have taken their place. The iron gates are rusty, and padlocked with an equally rusted old lock. No one wants to go near this place for fear of being accosted by Agnel’s discontent ghost.

 

“Yes, yes my child. I have seen lights come on in the rooms upstairs, on some nights. Sometimes my family and I have heard, in the late evenings, cries of pain coming from the house -- Agnel’s cries. We all know his voice well. Not only my family -- many others here, on this street, have experienced all this. You can ask them all. Now, no family has lived in there since Agnel’s murder. The house is abandoned. How do these lights come on by themselves, and how have we heard Agnel’s screams if the house isn’t haunted by his angry ghost? Our Father in Heaven save us all from his outrage,” says the ageing Mrs. Gomes, of Bungalow No.227, right across the street from the Wilson residence, crossing herself. Mrs. Gomes apparently was in the centre of action on the day Agnel was murdered.

“Not just the lights and the screams at night, my child. One evening, I even saw Agnel’s face, all demoniac and evil, pressed against the living room window, glaring at me. I ran home as fast as possible…I was so scared,” says the matronly looking, plump Mrs. Mascarenhas of 228, right beside the Gomes residence. Her eyes cloud over, perhaps with fear, as she narrates her scary experience to me, her fingers clutching the huge cross dangling from her necklace.

Apparently, people here set great store by the Lord Jesus Christ, and his opponent, Satan in Hell, himself.

“But what happened to the Wilsons was more than just a work of the Devil himself, Miss Lewis,” says Maggie Pinto, of Bungalow 238. As I sit in her spacious, airy living room, the large window to the right gives me a view of the Wilson place, separated by a high hedge, from the Pinto residence.

“I was there when it happened, you know. I was the first one to know something was wrong, and I was the one who alerted everyone to the fact. I heard Mary’s incessant screams and knew it,” Maggie recalls, her eyes staring into the distance, a distant look on her face.

“What really happened that day, Mrs. Pinto?” I press.

Maggie launches into a detailed version of the events that transpired on the 27th of March, 2010, a hot, balmy summer evening in Mumbai, as I sip her home-made cold coffee.

It was an evening like any other in the Colony. Evening was quietly stealing over the skies as the sun went to sleep.

Children played on the streets; boisterous young boys and girls ran around kicking a football or playing cricket together. Women with infants on their hips took a walk, and chatted up other women who had come out on the front lawn. Men and women returning from the supermarket, laden with bags of  grocery shopping, were invited by neighbors to come in and have a cup of cold coffee or juice, and cake. Neighboring couples sat together on the front porch, drinking chilled lemonade and catching up on recent events.

Voluble groups of teenagers, dressed in jeans and tees, bags slung on their shoulders, walked along as they talked and laughed, returning from tutorial classes and taking a welcome break from studies. Cars with families ventured out of the colony to dinner invitations by friends, or to malls for shopping.

It would have been an evening like any other.

Except when a shrill cry pierced the cacophony, cutting through the air like a whiplash. Maggie Pinto, standing at the gate of her home and talking to Mrs. Rentra from two doors down, was the first one to pick up the scream.

As everyone present in the vicinity tried to get their bearings, the scream came again. And again, and then again, increasing in pitch and amplitude.

“It’s coming from there!” Maggie Pinto screamed, pointing to the front door of the Wilson house.

Maggie and Julie Rentra rushed together towards the Wilson residence.

The others present, still bewildered, slowly picked up on what was happening and followed behind Maggie and Julie, scratching their heads.

Maggie realized the screams were a baby’s wails -- Mary Wilson, the chubby eleven month old infant, daughter to Agnel and Rebecca.

“Where on earth is Becka?” Maggie screamed, her legs sprinting towards the front door.

“Agnel! Becka! Are you okay in there! Please open the door!” Maggie and Julie shouted together, pounding the door with their fists.

There was no reply. The baby continued to cry with a vengeance. Finally, James Pinto and Jose Rentra suggested they, all four of them, break down the large wooden front door.

A few tries later, they’d broken down the door, as others behind them looked on apprehensively and speculated on what could have been going on inside.

The two couples were the first ones to rush inside the house. Maggie, without a second thought, rushed to locate Mary, and found her in her crib, in the downstairs bedroom, alone and crying, flailing her arms and legs.

While Maggie and Julie soothed the baby, James and Jose, along with Reggie Gomez and Damien Mascarenhas rushed to find her parents. Both Rebecca and Agnel were nowhere on the ground floor, so they rushed upstairs.

In the master bedroom, they found Agnel Wilson. Sprawled on the huge bed, his eyes wide open in a glassy death stare, he lay. His body, covered in blood, bore numerous stab marks. The lacerations created by the serrated edge of the knife gaped like open mouths, showing the tissue and bones underneath. Blood was on the light blue sheets, on the walls and on the bedside table.

 

A steak knife, covered in blood, was found beside the corpse. The knife on which Rebecca Wilson’s fingerprints would be found -- a piece of evidence the prosecutor in the Bombay High Court would use to accuse her of killing her husband.

But it was what Mrs. Gomes and Mrs. Mascarenhas found that evening, which was the most intriguing, and the most eerie part of the whole affair.

One of the upstairs rooms had a couple of sliding doors which opened out onto a balcony, which overlooked the street.

Near the sliding doors was a rocking chair. And in this rocking chair they found Rebecca Wilson, reclining, her eyes closed, her hair disheveled, and her hands clutching the armrests. Clad in her white wedding dress, Rebecca rocked to and forth as Western classical music played on an antique gramophone located in that very room. The wedding dress, and Rebecca’s hands and face, were covered in blood.

 

“Becka?” ventured Rosie Gomes, standing six feet from the rocking chair. Beside her stood Valerie Mascarenhas, apprehension writ large on her face.

Rebecca Wilson seemed not to hear her. Valerie motioned to Rosie, then quietly went and turned off the gramophone.

Rebecca still continued to rock to and fro. But her eyes opened.

“Who turned off the gramophone? Is it you, Agnel?” Rebecca’s voice came through, cold and clear, breaking the uneasy silence. But her gaze was still fixated on the wall in front of her.

Valerie and Rosie looked at each other, both their eyes growing wide, and the blood running cold in their veins. Both women had detected a palpable change of tone in Rebecca’s voice, usually sweet and demure, it now was as sharp as a knife, and uncharacteristically firm.

“Why is it a problem for you if I listen to my Bach in the evenings? It may be old and boring for you, but it’s touching music to my soul. And it’s a lot better than that noise pollution you call pop music,” Rebecca spoke again.

Valerie and Rosie looked at each other again, both their eyes asking the same question which was on each of their minds.

Does she even know Agnel is dead, and she’s covered in his blood all over?

“Rebecca…Agnel is dead, my dear, and…,” Valerie’s next words were drowned out in the wail of police sirens coming from outside.

“But I will never forget the look in her eyes as the police took her away,” informs Maggie.

“Her eyes were empty…and I thought I saw her pupils turn all black as she was being escorted past where I stood with the others. Let me tell you, Ms. Lewis, it was chilling to look at her eyes, devoid of any emotion, her face blank. Like she had no idea that her husband lay dead, and she was being accused of murdering him. Or that her baby girl needed her. She seemed completely removed from this world. Like the Devil himself had taken her over and numbed all her human senses,” Maggie continues.

 

Agnel Wilson’s murder was a big deal in 2010, one of the most talked about events not only in Mumbai, but all over the country.

The media rarely gets anything relevant to report, as it is, so in this case, they latched on to the Wilson tragedy and cooked up the incident into juicy meat fit for public consumption.

A handsome, twenty-eight year old man, murdered brutally in his own bedroom. His twenty-seven year old beautiful wife found, wearing her wedding gown splattered with his blood, behaving weirdly, and accused of her husband’s murder, her fingerprints on the steak knife that killed him. Their utterly clueless infant daughter, waiting to be adopted. Neither Rebecca’s relatives, nor Agnel’s, were to be seen or heard from after the tragedy.

Prime material for a cheap crime thriller. The media exploited it the same way they exploited the infamously controversial Aarushi Talwar murder case.

Going through the news articles published at the time, I found extensive coverage of Rebecca’s arrest and court trial, and Agnel’s funeral.

Rebecca Wilson: Mental patient or scheming murderess?

Young woman accused of stabbing husband to death with a steak knife in Malad East

The murder of Agnel Wilson: A marriage gone wrong?

Young woman murders her husband, and can’t seem to remember a thing

Rebecca Wilson claims her husband is alive; doesn’t remember having a daughter

Rebecca Wilson was always mentally unstable, say neighbors in Christian Colony

Police find Rebecca Wilson’s journal; say it may help determine the motive of murder

Rebecca murdered her husband Agnel because he was cheating on her, says ACP Damle

Rebecca murdered her husband because he used to beat her regularly, says police

The public wants the death sentence for murderess Rebecca Wilson

The murderess in the bloody wedding dress: Psychiatrist testifies in court about Rebecca Wilson’s mental condition.

New twist in the Agnel Wilson case: Murderer wife declared mentally ill by renowned psychiatrist.

Agnel Wilson murder case: Rebecca Wilson declared a paranoid schizophrenic

The Wilson saga: Bombay High Court accepts the insanity plea for Rebecca Wilson

Bombay High Court rules in favor of murderess Rebecca Wilson

Bombay High Court, in a surprise ruling, recommends psychiatric treatment for murderess Rebecca Wilson

Rebecca Wilson, who murdered her husband in cold blood, is being sent away for years to a psychiatric rehabilitation.

Cold-blooded murderer gets off on insanity plea, sent for psychiatric rehab

Agnel Wilson buried amongst media and public attention; relatives fail to show up

Agnel Wilson’s funeral conducted amidst outrage over Rebecca’s being exempted from life sentence

Public prosecutor says ruling in the Agnel Wilson murder case is a huge travesty of justice

 

The diary was a hugely controversial item in the murder case. Reporters harangued the investigating officers to share the contents of the diary, but to no avail. The police were guarding the diary in their headquarters, like it was a chest full of an ancient treasure.

Then, in the June of 2010, three months after the murder, the diary was stolen from the Evidence Room of the Orlem police station.

Three days later, the world found out about the culprit -- the Times of India newspaper. The paper shielded the identity of the reporter who’d stolen the diary, and also published, the same day, cheesy excerpts from Rebecca’s private journal. It was the most exciting part of their cheap crime thriller, and the public drank it up like it was premier quality wine.

Revelations: Excerpt from murderess Rebecca Wilson’s diary

Agnel is cheating on me…I know. He comes home late at night, tired, and irritated with me. He isn’t interested in sex anymore. Every time I try to seduce him, he feigns exhaustion and goes to sleep.

Agnel is a violent son-of-a-bitch…today he came home drunk and beat me, beat me with his belt. He wanted to fuck me and I refused…he wouldn’t let me feed Mary…my baby is wailing in her crib and all he wants to do is fuck.

Agnel came home late again today. I found lipstick on the collar of his shirt, and also a woman’s perfume. When I asked him, the motherfucker hit me on the side of the head and asked me to keep out of his personal affairs. I will kill him…kill him one day…I will kill him…this brute doesn’t deserve to live…

The claims allegedly made by Rebecca in her journal were aggravated by the fact that scars and old bruises were found on Rebecca’s body -- hands, face, neck, legs and stomach. Her mental condition was too fragile for her to tell the police, or even her doctors, anything, so the police had to proceed on pure speculation. Plus, she’d never registered a case of domestic violence against Agnel. Or spoken to anyone outside her home about Agnel’s violent behavior, drinking problem or philandering. But every resident of Christian Colony I spoke to, vouches for Agnel, unequivocally stating that he wasn’t an alcoholic, and was unlikely to cheat on Rebecca, whom he was intensely devoted to. He was even devoted to his baby daughter.

“Agnel’s family was everything for him. He treated his wife like a queen, like she was a precious, extremely delicate woman who would crumble if put through too much rigor. He was elated when Mary was born, and even gave a party here when both he and Rebecca brought her home from the hospital, for the first time. Agnel loved Rebecca intensely, and was very protective of her. In my knowledge, him beating her or hurting her in any other way is impossible,” says Maggie Pinto, utterly confident she’s right.

There were unfounded rumors that Rebecca’s bruises may have been self-inflicted, going by her schizophrenia. And the claims of Agnel’s extra-marital affairs were never confirmed either.

Mary Wilson, five years later, is a happily growing up baby with her adoptive parents, Janice and Jacob De Mello, in Versova. She has no idea of the violent, brutal incident that uprooted her biological family and tore them apart, into pieces unsalvageable. I was not allowed to meet her -- I was shown the door by her adoptive mother when I told her who I was and what my motto was in visiting her home. A crime novelist, digging for information on a real life crime to pen down into a true crime book is not always welcome everywhere. From the Child Welfare Committee, I came to know that the De Mellos are a childless couple. The officer who handled her adoption tells me that Mary Wilson was equal to a boon for this highly qualified, well-heeled, working couple. I can understand why Janice De Mello would be apprehensive -- she wants to protect Mary from her past, as well as keep at bay any chance of her blood relatives coming back to claim her.

Well, she need not worry. No one in Mary’s family, either from her mother’s or father’s side, came forward to adopt her when her father was murdered and her mother was facing charges of murdering him. It’s been five years, but they haven’t come calling on her yet. And if Janice is worried about Rebecca Wilson coming back to claim her daughter, she needn’t be.

Rebecca Wilson is safely locked up, perhaps for the next two decades or so, in the Pestonji Institute for Psychiatric Research and Rehabilitation in Panchgani.

As the staff there tells me, she is an obedient, peaceful inmate who has never been a source of trouble to them. She eats, sleeps, bathes and does everything else as told.

The only problem is that she scratches out weird messages and words on the walls, chipping her fingernails, or with a broken splinter of wood from the bed she sleeps in.

Agnel.

Mary.

The devil shall descend upon earth.

Long live the Lord.

The end is coming.

 

Apart from that, she does nothing but talk to herself all day long. She mentions Agnel, Maggie and a few other names.

And, at least thrice every day, she rocks to and forth, an imaginary object held in her lap. She coos to the object, blows kisses to it and sings old lullabies.

She calls her Mary, and softly coaxes her to go to sleep.

 

 


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