Uthra, a 26-year-old woman, was allegedly murdered by her husband Sooraj with a cobra in May 2020.

Video Kerala police try to reconstruct Uthras murder using a cobra and dummy
news Crime Thursday, August 26, 2021 - 19:14

The Kerala police team probing the murder of 25-year-old Uthra attempted to reconstruct the crime using a live snake and a dummy. Uthra was allegedly murdered in May 2020 by her husband Sooraj, who had given her sleeping pills before planting the Indian Cobra that bit her. The demonstration was carried out at the state training centre under the Forest Department at Arippa in Kollam district last year but a video of the reconstruction was released to the media on Thursday. The video of demonstration, which was submitted to the court, is expected to be crucial in the prosecution’s case.

The video shows a cobra being let loose on a dummy lying on a bed. However, Manish Kumar, the Chairman of the Mahindra Wildlife Foundation, who helped carry out the demonstration, says that the snake failed to strike the dummy. “The natural bite was a failure. We dropped the snake two or three times on the dummy, but it didn’t do anything, and tried to hide out,” he said as the video shows the snake slithering to the corner of the bed. 

The team then attempted to provoke the snake. A piece of raw chicken meat was wrapped around the dummy’s arm and waved before the snake multiple times. However, the cobra did not strike. “This is because the cobra species isn’t very active at night usually. Despite provoking the snake so much, it did not attack,” said Manish Kumar.  

The cobra strikes after several attempts, when the dummy arm is used to touch the snake. The team measured this natural bite and found that it measured 1.7 cm in width. After this, the team catches the snake, and holding its head inserts its fangs into the chicken meat wrapped around the dummy’s arm. “We noticed the changes in the width of the fangs. The first induced bite measured 2 cm and the second induced bite was 2.4 cm,” said Manish Kumar. The team also measured the snake’s movable jaw using a scale, and found that it measured 2 to 2.5 cm in width. “There are therefore changes between a natural bite and when we catch the snake and induce a bite,” he stated, adding that the snake slithered to a dark corner of the room after it was released.  

Twenty-five-year-old Uthra was found dead in her parents house in Anchal, Kollam on May 7, 2020. She had been bitten by a venomous snake that her husband Sooraj, a bank employee, had bought from a snake catcher. Following his arrest, Sooraj had allegedly confessed to the crime, stating that he had sedated Uthra with sleeping pills and had then planted the cobra, which bit her. 

It had allegedly been Sooraj’s second attempt in killing Uthra. The prime accused had in March 2020 rented a viper that bit Uthra. However, she was recovering at her parent’s home when she was bitten by the cobra.  While Sooraj has been charged with murder, his parents and sister have been accused of domestic violence and of assisting him in killing Uthra. 

The investigating team says they reached the conclusion that it was a brutal murder as Uthra was attacked twice, first with a viper and then with a cobra. “She wasn’t able to walk, was in a bed-ridden situation for 52 days and had to undergo a plastic surgery after getting bitten by the viper. Making her get bitten again with a more venomous snake while she had still not recovered from the earlier attempt amounts to brutal murder only,” Crime Branch Deputy Superintendent of Police A Ashokan had told TNM in August 2020 

Wedding photo of Uthra and Sooraj. Uthra is seen in a red sari decked up with gold jewellery, while Sooraj, who is accused of killed Uthra, is seen in a white shirt. Both are smiling in the picture.

Watch second video here
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