Kerala cyanide murders: Court remands prime accused Jolly, 2 others in police custody for six days

Joseph’s arrest has been recorded in the murder of her husband, Roy Thomas, 40, in which police had got scientific evidence from the autopsy in 2011. (Source: ieMalayalam)

The First-Class Judicial Magistrate court in Thalassery Thursday sent the three accused in the Koodathayi serial murders case to six days of police remand. The case will be heard next on October 16.

Jolly Joseph (47), the prime suspect, is accused of murdering her husband, her in-laws and three other members of the extended family by mixing cyanide in their food over a period of 14 years. She was married into the Ponnamattom family in Koodathayi village on the outskirts of Kozhikode town. The two other accused, who were remanded into police custody, are MS Mathew and Prajikumar, who allegedly helped Jolly with supplying the cyanide and suspected of conspiracy.

The Thomas home

It was the post-mortem report of Roy Thomas, Jolly's husband, that indicated the presence of cyanide in the food that he ate before he died. It was Roy's death in 2011 that proved to be the breakthrough in the probe and was re-opened recently after Roy's brother, Rojo submitted a complaint citing suspicions regarding the death of his family members. Roy's parents, Annamma and Tom Thomas had passed away in 2002 and 2008 respectively and their deaths were believed to be of natural cause. But the presence of cyanide in Roy's post-mortem and the subsequent deaths of three others in the family led the police to Jolly, a housewife who re-married after Roy's death. The entire case, sensationalist in nature and given wall-to-wall coverage by the television media, has created ripples across the state.

While the crime branch unit of the state police, probing the case, had demanded the remand of the accused for 15 days, the court allowed only six days' time. The bail petitions, submitted by the accused, will be heard by the court on October 16. The crime branch will depute six separate teams to probe each of the deaths in detail. At present, the number of personnel investigating the case has been expanded to 35 from 10.