How A Family-Loving "Lecturer" Became Kerala's Deadly Cyanide Killer

Kerala Serial Killing: Among the victims is Annamma Thomas, Jollyamma Joseph's former mother-in-law. The others are Tom Thomas, her father-in-law, and Mathew Thomas (Annamma's brother). Mathew Thomas "paid" for insisting on a post mortem after Roy's death, say cops.

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Kerala Serial Killing: Jollyamma Joseph was arrested on Saturday for the murder of her former husband


Kozhikode, Kerala: 

Highlights

  1. Jollyamma Joseph, 47, was arrested for murdering her ex-husband
  2. "Jolly" allegedly killed six other members of the family over 14 years
  3. She was taken to spots in Kozhikode, where the crimes were committed

Jollyamma Joseph, 47, had a huge audience on Friday as she was taken to various spots in Kerala's Kozhikode - markers in serial killings that have shocked the nation. Joseph, aka "Jolly", is suspected to have killed six people over a span of 14 years.

As she was led by around 100 policemen to various sites for the investigation, people climbed walls, crowded the streets and peered from their balconies. They shouted and booed. The police say many had travelled from other parts of the state for a glimpse of the woman accused in half-a-dozen murders.

Many find it hard to believe that a woman known to be family-oriented, well-respected and liked could be a cold-blooded killer.

She was arrested on Saturday for the murder of her former husband. She allegedly slipped cyanide into his food.

For over a decade, Jolly told everyone she was a lecturer at the National Institute Of Technology in Kozhikode. She drove off in her car every morning, the police have learnt from her family and neighbours. She allegedly faked a post-graduate degree and an NIT card, among other documents.

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Kerala Serial Killings: Jollyamma Joseph is also suspected in the death of one-year-old Alphine Shaju, her current husband's daughter from an earlier marriage. The police said they were told the child died after choking on food

It is a mystery where the commerce graduate actually went every day. 

She was a regular at church, and popular too.

The police say beneath this affable front, she plotted many murders, mainly for money and property.

Two men who allegedly helped her in the crimes - one of them supplied the cyanide - have also been arrested.

The only murder for which she has been charged is that of her ex-husband, Roy Thomas.

The police are investigating allegations that she murdered five more family members who died in the same pattern, after eating poisoned food.

Among the victims is Annamma Thomas, her former mother-in-law. "She was killed because she was the most important person in that family. It was a move to gain complete control over the family's financial transactions," said KG Simon, who is heading the investigations.

The others are Tom Thomas, her father-in-law, and Mathew Thomas (Annamma's brother). Mathew Thomas "paid" for insisting on a post mortem after Roy's death, say cops.

Jolly is also suspected in the death of one-year-old Alphine Shaju, her current husband's daughter from an earlier marriage. The police said they were told the child died after choking on food. "But that is not the real reason. We did a thorough analysis in this case, we consulted doctors, researchers and we have found out that there are symptoms that point towards the use of cyanide in all the cases," said Mr Simon.

Jolly's husband's first wife Philly may have been the sixth victim. The police say Jolly "confessed" to giving her poisoned water. After all these deaths, she married her husband Shaju.

The bodies were exhumed last week after Roy's US-based brother demanded an investigation.

Since some of the deaths go way back to 2002, evidence is a challenge. "This case is a test of science. So we are in touch with the best of the forensic scientists in this country," said police officer Loknath Behra.

On Wednesday, Elsamma, an aunt of Roy Thomas, told the media that she suspected her involvement in two more deaths - her son Sunish, who died in a bike accident in 2002, and his cousin Vincent, who was found hanging.

According to news agency IANS, an astrologer from Jolly's hometown has also been reported missing. She had told the police that she had consulted him for the welfare of her present husband.

IANS reports that the police have found the will of Roy Thomas' father was forged by Jolly, with help from politicians and high-level revenue officials. 

State Revenue Minister E. Chandrasekheran has announced a probe into all revenue transactions made by Jolly.



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