Nearly two years after Jolly Amma Joseph, the 49-year-old Kerala woman accused in the sensational Koodathayi serial murder case, was arrested in October 2019, her husband Shaju Zachariah sought a divorce. Jolly is accused of poisoning to death six members of her family over the period of 14 years, including her second husband Shaju’s former wife and their two-year-old daughter. In his petition seeking a divorce from Jolly, Shaju told the court that he is scared to continue as her husband.
“Jolly has a very deadly mindset; therefore, I want a divorce,” Shaju said in his petition filed at a family court in Kozhikode district. Shaju contended that he was unaware that Jolly was behind all the six murders.
It was in 2019 that the chilling murders in a family in Kozhikode’s Koodathayi came to the fore after the Kerala police exhumed the mortal remains of six people who died over the 14 years. The first in the family to die in 2002 was Jolly's mother-in-law Annamma Thomas, a retired teacher. The next death was in 2008, Jolly's father-in-law, Tom Thomas. In 2011, Jolly's husband, Roy Thomas, died. This was followed by the death of Roy's maternal uncle, Mathew Manjadiyil, in 2014. The same year, a two-year-old Alphine, daughter of Jolly’s present husband Shaju, died. Shaju is the son of Tom Thomas’s brother. In 2016, Shaju’s former wife Cily died.
It was after Roy Thomas’ brother raised suspicion and approached the police that the bodies were exhumed, and all deaths, which were considered natural deaths until then, turned out to be case of murders. In October 2019, Jolly was arrested by Kozhikode rural police. As per police, Jolly allegedly poisoned everyone, except Annamma Thomas, with cyanide, discreetly mixing the poison in their food. Annamma was murdered using dog poison in her food. The motive of the murders was allegedly to gain control of the finances of the family.
In 2017, Jolly got married to Shaju. Speaking to Mathrubhumi News, Shaju’s advocate, who moved the court for the divorce, said that Shaju does not feel safe with her. “When Shaju got married to Jolly, he never knew she was behind these murders. It is only during the police investigation that he came to know Jolly was the accused. They got married as both of them were widowed. If Jolly comes out on bail, or once the case is over, there will be a threat to his life if they live together,” said advocate Manohar Lal.
The trial proceedings of the separate cases, registered against each death, is currently underway. Jolly is presently lodged at a prison in Kozhikode district of Kerala.
(With IANS inputs)
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