Doctor who killed wife and son 'was jealous of her work'

Click to follow
The Independent Online

A hospital doctor who fatally stabbed his wife and then jumped 160ft to his death while holding his son had struggled for years to find a stable job and could have been motivated by professional jealousy, police said yesterday.

Jaya Prakash Chiti, 41, whose body was found on Sunday, had taken numerous posts as a locum on contracts rarely lasting more than six months. His wife, Anupama Damera, 36, was a consultant who was in demand, conducting important research into breast cancer.

Friends of the couple, who came to Britain in the early 1990s after qualifying and working as doctors in India, said Dr Chiti had lived in her shadow.

Andrew Evans, a consultant radiologist at the City Hospital in Nottingham, who worked with Ms Damera for five years until she took up a new post in Suffolk last year, said there had been no indication of marital problems but Dr Chiti had struggled to match his wife's progress. He said: "He wasn't doing so well. He found it very difficult to make a career. He worked here and there, usually for six-month periods, but never settled. He seemed happy to follow his wife wherever her career took her."

Detectives said jealousy was one of several motives being considered after the bodies of Dr Chiti and his son Pranau, two, were found by coastguards in shallow water below the Orwell Bridge near Ipswich early on Sunday. A police source said: "It is difficult to imagine the sort of despair or jealousy that could cause this."

The alarm was raised after a motorist spotted Dr Chiti's Toyota estate parked in the slow lane of the A12 with its hazard lights flashing on the bridge, a notorious suicide spot.

Police found the body of Ms Damera in a bedroom of the family's £260,000 detached home on a private estate on the edge of Ipswich. A post-mortem examination found that she died of stab wounds. The couple's other son Ani, 11, was found in his bedroom.

Detective Superintendent Roy Lambert, the officer leading the investigation, said police were not searching for anyone else. "It looks like Dr Damera was murdered and her husband and young child went over the Orwell Bridge. That is the only interpretation I can make at the moment," he said.

Ipswich Hospital, where Ms Damera had been working since last March as a consultant radiologist specialising in the diagnosis of breast cancer, said Dr Chiti had been due to start a new job tomorrow as a senior house officer in the casualty department. He was offered the post after apparently failing to establish himself as a surgeon and then as a GP.

His wife, described as "beautiful, gentle and charming", led research in Nottingham which has allowed surgeons to reduce the amount of tissue removed during some breast cancer surgery. A paper on the research was published in December in the British Journal of Cancer and Ms Damera received offers from several hospitals before accepting the £70,000-a-year post in Ipswich.

A spokeswoman for Ipswich Hospital said: "There is palpable shock at what has happened. People are visibly distressed. They simply cannot believe it." Friends said the couple had seemed happy as they settled into their home in Rushmere St Andrew.

Ani, who was being looked after by social services, attends a private school in nearby Woodbridge. Diane Spalding, a neighbour who looked after him on Sunday, said: "Ani told us he had slept through everything. When he came round he did not know that his mother had died. Two police family liaison officers finally told him at about 11am that his parents and brother were dead. He was totally shocked. There is no other way of describing it."