Kerala woman arrested for killing six members of family over 14 years by using cyanide

On Saturday, a 47-year-old woman was arrested by the Kerala Police for allegedly murdering her husband, parents in law, and three other members of the extended family by giving them cyanide in food over a period of 14 years.

According to Indian Express, the woman has been identified as Jolly Joseph, who hails from Koodathai village in Kozhikode district of North Kerala. The cops have also arrested two of her alleged accomplices. Jolly has confessed to all six murders. However, her 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, Kozhikode Rural superintendent of police K G Simon told reporters.

The post mortem report revealed that there was presence of cyanide in Thomas’s body. During investigation cops also found out that five others in the family had died under the same circumstances. SP, who oversaw the investigation, told the the Indian Express, “We have found that five others in the family had died under the same circumstances. In all of these situations, we noticed the presence of the woman, Jolly. She has confessed to the killings.”

It all started in 2002, when the first death took place in the Ponnammattam family at Koodathai village. In 2002, Annamma Thomas, 57, a retired teacher, collapsed after consuming soup, and died before being admitted to hospital. Six years later, in 2008, Annamma’s husband Tom Thomas, 66, also collapsed after eating. These deaths were believed then to have been the result of cardiac arrests.

On the day when, Tom Thomas, his son Roy started vomiting and frothing at the mouth soon after eating. Roy was declared dead in Hospital. After his death, Roy's uncle, M M Mathew, 68, brother of the late Annamma, insisted on an autopsy. The autopsy revealed that cyanide was present in Roy's body.

Later in 2014, Mathew died. Jolly who was staying in a house close to Mathew’s, raised an alarm that Mathew had collapsed in his home. He was rushed to hospital by the locals but could not be saved.

Three months later, Alphin, the one-year-old daughter of a nephew of Tom Thomas’s, fell into a coma after having breakfast, and died. The sixth death was of Sili, the wife of Shaju and mother of Alphin. She died in 2016.Jolly had been widowed after the death of Roy in 2011. She married Shaju, who is a school teacher in 2017.

The cops opened the case after they noticed that no probe had been conducted at that time (in 2011) to establish how the cyanide got into Roy's body. The two arrested accomplices are Jolly’s close friend M F Mathew, 44, who worked for a jeweller, and goldsmith Preji Kumar, 44, who had supplied the cyanide.