A woman in Kerala who has confessed to poisoning six members of her family over a 14-year period probably suffered from a personality disorder, police said yesterday.
Police suspect that Jolly Thomas could have hidden traits of a psychopath, who went on to eliminate her husband, in-laws and relatives one after the other.
Jolly, who killed six family members at regular intervals, could also be suffering from split personality, where she led two different roles in life – that of a housewife and a cold blooded serial killer, Director General of Police (DGP) Lok Nath Behera said.
The overall jovial personality of the 47-year-old suspect has baffled investigators, who are interrogating one of the most intriguing criminal minds accused of wiping out an entire family.
While primary forensic evidence suggests that Jolly poisoned six family members by serving them food laced with cyanide, her friends and close relatives feel she is ‘innocent’ and is being framed.
The police have finally decided to conduct an in-depth psychoanalysis of Jolly to establish whether she had any traits of being a psychopath.
“Let me admit, this case is too complicated as it involves a lady who apparently looks very normal in her behaviour, but evidence gathered by us indicates that she is a serial killer. I have now asked officials to engage the best psychologists to carry out an in-depth study of her mental behaviour,” the officer told IANS.
Behera said that forensic examination of the remains of the victims, which have been exhumed, suggests that cyanide poisoning caused all the deaths.
“But we have to probe threadbare into the cause of deaths. To ascertain that cyanide was used to kill the victims, I intend to dispatch the samples to the best forensic labs. If we do not get any specific leads from the Indian labs, the government would send the samples to England, which is considered to have the most advanced forensic toxicology labs, to find out traces of cyanide if the chemical was used in the killings,” said Behera.
Meanwhile, Jolly’s son Romo Roy, 21, said that though it was difficult to believe that her mother could carry out the killings of his father, grandfather, grandmother and other family members, if the evidence gathered suggests that she is the accused, then the law should take its own course.
Romo’s statement could shed more light on the mystery killings which were buried in police files for years.
Jolly was allegedly motivated by wanting control of the family finances and property, police said.
According to police, the first poisoning was of her mother-in-law, who died in 2002 after eating mutton soup. In 2008, her-father-in-law died, followed by her husband in 2011, who police said died after eating rice and curry. An autopsy conducted on his body at the time confirmed poisonous substances in his stomach, but police treated his death as suicide.
Jolly’s husband’s uncle was then allegedly given coffee laced with cyanide as punishment for insisting that a postmortem be carried out on his nephew.
In 2014, police said Jolly killed the two-year-old daughter of her dead husband’s cousin, Scaria Shaju. The cousin’s wife was then killed in 2016. A year later Jolly and Shaju married.
The police yesterday questioned Shaju. He told the police he had no role in the killings.
After 90 minutes of questioning, the police took him to the Vadakara office of the Superintendent of Police K G Simon and after another round of questioning, Shaju was let off.
“Our probe is going on in the right direction and if required we will ask Shaju to come back again. We are in the process of verifying all aspects as many more will be also questioned,” Simon said.
Shaju’s father Zachariah, who had told the media earlier that his son was trapped into marriage by Jolly and her elder son, was asked to present himself before the probe team.
In a related development, Jolly’s friend and beauty parlour owner Sulekha denied that Jolly was her partner in business.
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