Ponnamattam family house in Koodathayi, Kozhikode
Ponnamattam family house in Koodathayi, Kozhikode Image Credit: Exclusive: Gulf News source

They were an ideal family, a point of reference for the community. “Jolly Joseph was the perfect daughter-in-law. She was very smart and efficient. She participated in the community, organised things, people liked her,” Manojkumar T. T. Koodathayi, member of the local Omasserry Gram Panchayat, told Gulf News.

He was talking to Gulf News about alleged Kerala serial killer Jolly Joseph’s first marriage and their family in Koodathai, Kozhikode district. The panchayat is a local administrative body that takes care of official duties, as required by the residents.

Kodenchery police’s video of the Ponnamattam house being sealed on October 4 after Jolly’s arrest.

Manojkumar said: “I’ve known the family really well. Jolly’s in-laws were simple, respected people, their three children were considered to be model children. They never got into any trouble.”

Manojkumar said that Jolly would leave every day by 8am for her alleged workplace and return quite late by 6pm. The family believed in simple living. Their family home ‘Ponnamattam’ was large but furnished in an average manner. “There was nothing fancy in their house. It was a middle-class home. Jolly’s mother-in-law Annamma was a school teacher and the father-in-law Tom a government employee.”

The only flaw in this near-perfect picture was Jolly’s first husband Roy’s latent alcohol problem.

Jolly Joseph
Jolly Joseph Image Credit: Social Media

“It was not too much of a public knowledge but people knew that he would drink regularly. But that was it. He was a quiet man, who had started a small business. One of the house helps there would always say how Roy and Jolly were very well behaved with each other. There were no clashes.

“But, then, apparently their business ran into financial trouble. So, when he died in 2011, most people in the community thought that he had committed suicide. Only his paternal uncle Matthew was suspicious and talked about it. After a while he died, too. So, that talk disappeared.”

Jully Joseph
Jully Joseph (highlighted) was an active member of the community and participating in many events. Image Credit: Gulf News

A change took place after Roy’s passing. “The last time I went to the Ponnamattam house was after Roy’s death, to pay my respects to the dead body. Jolly seemed okay, all the rituals were done properly. Nobody raised any suspicion. But, after that Jolly suddenly adopted a rather lavish lifestyle.

“Earlier, she would go to work on a scooter. After Roy’s passing, she bought herself a large silver-coloured car and started spending money. There was a marked change. But, again, it did not raise any suspicion. So, when we heard the news, everybody was stunned.”