Kerala’s lady serial killer shocks public conscience

Thiruvananthapuram: A Kerala housewife, who killed six members of her family for the lust of money and sex over a period of 14 years, has shocked the collective conscience of the Malayalee society and earned her state a dubious name as the home of India’s first such criminal.

She would perhaps be the only woman on the list, which includes notorious criminals like Mumbai’s Raman Raghav and the Stoneman. The Kerala woman, a pious Catholic named Jolly Thomas, is now in police custody after a sensational week of bizarre events, including the reopening of tombs of people who died years ago for chemical examination of their remains.

Her modus operandi was to give her victims cyanide-laden food, which caused almost instant death. The murders were spaced out so meticulously at such long intervals nobody suspected any foul play or even if there were doubts she managed to use her clout with influential people to avo­id post-mortem on the bodies.

Her first victim was her mother-in-law, whom she poisoned to death in 2002, but the retired school teacher was believed to have died due to natural causes.

Then followed her father-in-law, who died six years later due to what was made out to be a case of heart attack, but was actually plotted by the woman with the use of cyanide.

Then, she killed her husband in similar fashion after a gap of three years, followed by the brother of her mother-in-law, and two other relatives, a young mother and her daughter.

Initial interrogation has revealed that she hated all women, particularly girls. The kin were poisoned to death so she could marry a man related to her husband. He is also in police custody, but he reportedly told police he agreed to the marriage as he feared for his life.

Meanwhile, the scene outside the court was chock-a-block with people trying to catch a glimpse of Jolly, the prime accused in the murders of Koodathayi. Along with two aides, Jolly was sent to police custody.

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