India Bus Gang Rape Suspect Found Hanged
Ram Singh was found dead in the high-security prison where he was being held under suicide watch while his trial continued.
Video: Some of the gang-rape accused with their faces coveredEnlarge
The man accused of leading the gang rape of a student on a New Delhi bus has hanged himself in his prison cell.
Ram Singh was found dead in the high-security Tihar jail where he had been on suicide watch in an isolated cell, officials said.
The suicide has angered the family of the 23-year-old rape victim who said the authorities had been negligent and they had been denied justice.
Her father, who cannot be named for legal reasons, said: "We don't understand how could the police fail to protect Ram Singh? They knew he was the prime accused in my daughter's case.
"How could they let him choose the way he wanted to die? The police have failed and I wonder what will happen to the case now."Days of protests followed the attack
Singh, 35, was accused of leading a gang of five others who subjected the physiotherapy student to a two-and-a-half hour sex attack in which she was gang raped.
Her internal injuries were so horrific she died two weeks later in a hospital in Singapore despite surgery to try to save her.
Singh's suicide comes in the middle of his trial. He and four others are accused of luring the woman and a male friend, who were on their way home from a trip to the cinema, on to the bus where they beat him before repeatedly raping her.
A senior police officer on the case said: "The case will continue. There is no reason for the case to suffer."
Singh's lawyer confirmed his client's death but claimed he had been "killed in prison". Lawyers for the men have previously accused police of beating confessions out of their clients.
Singh was the regular driver of the white private bus, usually used to carry school children, which is alleged to have been used in the December 16 attack.
Police say he had been out with friends and drinking heavily when they decided to take the bus out for a night-time joyride.Rallies grew violent and water cannon were turned on protesters
The men are facing charges of murder, rape, and kidnapping, and if found guilty are expected to be given the death penalty.
A sixth suspect aged 17 is being tried in a juveniles' court, where he faces a maximum three years imprisonment.
The attack caused worldwide revulsion and outrage in India. Days of protests followed in a country where a woman is raped every 20 minutes.
The woman's friend, who is still suffering from the injuries he sustained in the attack, has already given evidence at the trial. His account was said to be a crucial part of the case.
He had previously spoken of the attack in an interview in which he told how he begged the rapists to stop "the cruelty that should never be seen".
Protesters have called for all rape suspects to be hanged and want a better deal for women so the streets are safer and men who rape women are put on trial.
National crime records show that 228,650 of the total 256,329 violent crimes recorded in India last year were against women and rape cases more than doubled between 1990 and 2008