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Cyanide killings may not be limited to one family: Kerala DGP

Potassium cyanide, a highly toxic colourless salt-like substance

Cyanide killings may not be limited to one family: Kerala DGP
Representation image

Thiruvananthapuram: Spy movies often feature cyanide as a perfect killer poison but in Kerala, a couple involved in serial killings actually used the deadly chemical to wipe out an entire family of six over a period of 14 years.

Potassium cyanide, a highly toxic colourless salt-like substance, was allegedly used by Jolly Thomas and her two aides to eliminate the family in Kozhikode.

The meticulously planned killings, executed by Jolly (now 47), may not be limited to the elimination of only one family in Kozhikode, suspects Kerala Director General of Police (DGP) Lok Nath Behera.

“It is too early to comment on the entire dynamics of the crime carried out by Jolly and her aides. Although it is a very complex case to investigate, I do not rule out the possibility of more such killings executed by them,” Behera told IANS.

“We are still following certain leads and gathering previous linkages of Jolly to ascertain her criminal profile. At this moment, the real big picture emerging out of these gruesome murders is not much clear. I can only say that the police have done a great job to unravel the killings which could have gone unnoticed.”

So far the Kozhikode Police have arrested Jolly, her friend M. Mathew and a jewellery worker who arranged the potassium cyanide for the execution of the murders.

Investigation revealed that Jolly served cyanide-laced with food to the victims. The first reported killing was executed in 2002 by Jolly wherein the victim was identified as her mother-in-law, Anamma Thomas.

Six years later in 2008, Jolly allegedly killed her father-in-law Tom Thomas. In 2011, it was the turn of Jolly’s then-husband Roy Thomas.

The killing spree continued at regular intervals in the residence of the Thomas family. The next victim in the queue was Roy Thomas’ maternal uncle Mathew who died under similar circumstances in 2014. Two years later, another close relative Sily, the wife of Shaju(Jolly’s paramour), and her one-year-old child died under similar circumstances.

The police investigation into the serial killings confirmed that all the victims died soon after consuming food.

Besides, Jolly’s presence in all the six deaths was a striking feature, pointing towards her involvement in the killings.

With no concrete clues, the investigation into the killings could have been buried in the police files as blind murders. However, Roy Thomas’ brother Rojo, who lives abroad, approached the Superintendent of Police and expressed his suspicion over the mysterious serial deaths. In fact, Rojo was next in line to be eliminated by Jolly. However, as Rojo lived abroad, he and his family members remained out of the reach of the killers.

Once convinced with Rojo’s revelations on the mystery deaths of his family members, the police exhumed the mortal remains of the deceased persons from their graves and sent them for forensic examination. The initial reports indicated poisoning.

Sources said that during her long interrogation, Jolly finally confessed to the police that potassium cyanide, arranged by her friend Mathew, was used to kill all the victims. As far as the motive is concerned, Jolly wanted to marry her former husband’s cousin Shaju and they both eyed the property of the Thomas family.

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