The parents of Kerala woman Jolly Joseph, accused of killing six family members with cyanide, said on Thursday that they felt ashamed at the charges even as the 47-year-old’s lawyer alleged the police was encouraging a media trial in the sensational case.
An angry crowd gathered outside the magistrate’s court in Kozhikode where Jolly was produced on Thursday morning, and a woman head constable who escorted her told press that no relative has turned up at the prison to meet her. The reason behind this was made clear when HT spoke to three members of her family.
“She has brought enough shame to the family. We will not give any help to her. If she is innocent let her come out clean on her own. We have disowned her and we will fully co-operate with the ongoing investigation,” said her father K Joseph, a farmer, over the phone from Kattapana in Idukki district.
Jolly is the fifth of Joseph’s six children and Joseph said she should get exemplary punishment if guilty. “We know she had some financial constraints. We helped her on several occasions including when her eldest son was enrolled in a catering college in north India. She told us she had a running property dispute with his brother in- law Rojo Thomas,” he added.
Jolly’s youngest brother, Nobi Thomas, agreed with his father. Jolly’s sister-in-law Renji Thomas, who is looking after Jolly’s two children, said the family was still shocked at the secrets she kept from them. “They believed her a lot. They feel cheated,” said Thomas. “We try to tell ourselves that it was the dark side of her personality that compelled her to do the things she did.”
On Saturday, Jolly was arrested from Kozhikode’s Koodathai village in connection with six deaths in her family between 2002 and 2016. The police have also arrested two men, M Mathew and Praju Kumar, for allegedly helping her execute the murders.
The first to die was Jolly’s mother-in-law, Anamma Thomas, in 2002; the second was her father-in-law, Tom Thomas in 2008; the third was her husband, Roy Thomas in 2011; the fourth was a brother of Anamma, Mathew M, in 2014; the fifth was the daughter of her husband’s cousin, Alphine, in 2016; and the sixth was Alphine’s mother, Sily Scaria, later in 2016. All of them died after consuming food and showed symptoms of cyanide poisoning before their collapse. Police say Jolly was present at the scene of each of these deaths.
One of the two men accused in the case, Praju Kumar, told the media that he had been trapped. “I had no knowledge about these killings. She sought a little quantity of cyanide to kill big rats in her house,” he added.
In the FIR, police cited four reasons behind Joy Thomas’ 2011 murder. “First, she (Jolly) opposed his drinking habit. Secondly, he opposed her extra-marital relations strongly. Third, her greed for more wealth and need to marry a person who has an assured income and finally she opposed his blind beliefs and customs,” a senior police officer summarised them.
This came even as some of Jolly’s relatives sought to link two more deaths to her.
The first was that of 24-year-old P Vincent, who allegedly killed himself two days after Anamma Thomas’ death in 2002 – the first in the chain of six alleged murders by Jolly. The second was that of 28-year-old P Suneesh, who died in 2008. “Both died under mysterious circumstances. Both were quite friendly with Jolly,” Suneesh’s mother, Elsamma, said.
But Jolly’s lawyer, BA Aloor, dismissed all the charges and said the case against Jolly was bordering on a media trial. “Police are collectively leaking information to media and they are spinning stories after stories. I am sure most of these charges will not stand before the court of law,” he said at a press conference in Kochi. He refused to reveal the details of people who hired him to defend Jolly. Previously, local lawyers in Kozhikode had refused to represent her.
Oct 10, 2019 23:02 IST