Kerala’s alleged serial killer Jolly Joseph accused of murdering six family members was formally charged with murder, destruction of evidence and Section 6 (2) of the Indian Poison Act for crimes committed using poison, yesterday.
A 1,800-pages long charge sheet was filed at the Thamarassery magistrate court in Kerala, India. This was pertaining to the alleged murder of her first husband Roy Thomas. Jolly Joseph was named as the prime accused. Five more will be filed for the remaining cases.
The accused from Kerala’s Kozhikode district had apparently poisoned six members of her family over a period of 14 years using cyanide.
On the evening of September 30, 2011 after making sure that her children had slept early, Jolly Joseph added cyanide to the drinking water and chickpea curry that she would serve to her husband for dinner, according to the police.
Rural Superintendent of Police and Investigating Officer KG Simon told reporters present outside the court that the other three accused were M S Mathew, a close friend of Jolly, Praji Kumar, a goldsmith who allegedly supplied cyanide to Mathew, who in turn gave it to Jolly and K Manoj, a former political activist, who helped Jolly forge various documents.
Yesterday, 242 witnesses and 322 documents and, 22 objects as physical evidence were produced in the Thamarassery municipal magistrate court. The witnesses included 26 officials, including three judicial officials.
The accused have been charged under 10 sections of the Indian Penal Code, including murder, criminal conspiracy, forgery, and cheating apart from sections 6 (2) of Indian Poison Act.
The charge sheet says that the cyanide used for the murder has been recovered from the Ponnamattom family house where Jolly resided. They also found that she had poisoned the water that Roy drank and the meal he ate on the night of his murder.
According to news reports, KG Simon said: “We have found a sample of cyanide from the house. The substance she had pointed out to us during evidence collection and the samples we found in the car later did not turn out to be cyanide when we ran tests. However, we later found a confirmed sample of cyanide from the house.”
Police recover cyanide
Roy had an alcohol problem and did not have a steady income. KG Simon added: “There were several issues that the two of them faced. We have proof that Roy even met practitioners of black magic to try and fix issues with his wife.”
On the day of his death, Jolly added cyanide to Roy’s water and the chickpea curry that she had cooked for dinner.
“Roy had a habit of drinking a glass of water on returning home. This is why she decided to add cyanide to the water, in case he did not have dinner. She then washed the dishes to cover her tracks and called the relatives to inform them that Roy had died. She told them that he had suffered a heart attack.”
Confessions of seven witnesses, including those of Jolly’s two children have been recorded by a magistrate under section 164 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC).
According to the police, she told one of the witnesses that Roy had eaten dinner at home. “She told the other that she had been cooking eggs to serve for dinner when Roy collapsed and died.” When the police questioned the witnesses, Jolly’s lie was exposed and they began to probe further.
The Special Investigation Team (SIT) also produced copies of Jolly’s fake UGC Net, Mcom and BCom certificates. These were submitted along with the charge sheet.
The team has also recovered her NIT-Calicut ID card that she had used, to substantiate her false claim of being a professor at the national institute. “When we found out that she was not a professor at NIT, then her false claims started getting exposed,” Simon added.
The SIT found evidence to show that money and property belonging to Roy’s father Tom Thomas had been transferred to Jolly. “We found that Jolly had also been receiving Tom Thomas’s insurance money. She had also been using her father-in-law’s assets to purchase a car by paying money in instalments of Rs15,000.”
Jolly’s second husband Shaju Zacharias was questioned by the police several times but was found to have no connection to Roy Thomas’ death.
According to KG Simon, the principal motive behind the alleged murders was Jolly’s desperation to sustain her web of lies. “She had lied to her in-laws, fabricated educational degrees, lied about a job for 14 years and created a fake will to get her father-In law’s property. She was desperate to sustain the narrative and in the process committed the murders as well,” Simon added.
Police are waiting for the forensic results in the other five cases.