New Delhi:

A college friend of Shraddha Walkar, whose grisly murder by her live-in partner Aftab Poonawala in Delhi has shaken the entire nation, said that she was a victim of domestic violence. Rajat Shukla, the friend, also recalled a distress message she had sent months before she was killed.

“She was physically abused. She told this to her best friend. Since we were a part of the same friend circle, we were informed about the same,” Rajat Shukla told NDTV.

Aftab, 28, strangled 26-year-old Shraddha in May and chopped her body into 35 pieces which he kept in a 300-litre fridge at his rented accommodation in South Delhi’s Chhatarpur before dumping them in a nearby forest over 18 days.

He killed Shraddha after a fight over marriage and the idea of chopping her body into pieces was inspired TV show “Dexter”, he confessed to police during interrogation.

“It started with some complications where beatings had begun. She shared it with her best friend. However, she continued to stay with him. She said that she wanted to leave him but she didn’t,” Mr Shukla added.

Mr Shukla, who met Shraddha in college in 2015, said that she feared for her life. “She (Shraddha) asked her childhood friend to rescue her or else she would be found dead,” he said.

Aftab and Shraddha met on dating app Bumble and they were together for three years before the relationship ended in a horrific murder.

Rajat Shukla, tears welling up in his eyes, remembered Shraddha as a very active girl who “had a spark in her”. “But then this man just came and took her away,” he said.

Mr Shukla said Aftab seemed like a “normal person” and one very “tough to decipher”.

Aftab evaded detection for six months and continued to live in the house they shared and was only arrested Saturday after details of the killing and its grisly aftermath came to light during his interrogation.

He allegedly used her Instagram account and messaged her friends to cover up the murder.

The victim’s father in Mumbai filed a complaint when one of her friends informed him in September that Shraddha’s phone had been switched off for more than two months.

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