Uthra murder case: Kerala court holds man guilty of murdering wife using cobra

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Updated: October 11, 2021 4:18 PM

State police chief Anil Kant said this was one of the rarest cases in which the accused has been found guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

State police chief Anil Kant said this was one of the rarest cases in which the accused has been found guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence.

In a one-of-its-kind verdict, the Kollam Additional Sessions Court on Monday held a man guilty of murdering his 25-year-old wife by getting her bitten by a cobra. The court convicted 28-year-old Suraj Kumar for killing his wife Uthra by letting a cobra bite her in her sleep in May last year. His sentence would be pronounced on Wednesday, the Kollam sixth additional sessions court said.

Reacting to the court’s decision, state police chief Anil Kant said this was one of the rarest cases in which the accused has been found guilty on the basis of circumstantial evidence. Hailing the police team investigated the case, he said it was one of the shining examples of how scientifically and professionally a murder case was investigated and detected.

“The case was a difficult one”, he told reporters in Thiruvananthapuram. He said the investigation team worked very hard analysing forensic medicine, fibre data, DNA of the animal and other evidences to crack the case.

The prosecution appealed to the court to award the death sentence to the accused as the crime was ‘diabolical, gruesome’ in nature.

The case dates back to May 7, 2020 when Uthra (25), mother of a one-year-old, was found dead due to a snakebite at her home in Anchal in Kerala’s Kollam district. The cobra that bit her and later found in the same bedroom was reported to have inflicted the bite in the night as Uthra, her husband Sooraj and their one-year-old child slept.

Though it was initially dismissed as a snakebite death by the local police, the fact that Uthra had been bitten earlier by a viper on March 2, 2020 at her in-laws home that required her to be hospitalised, and a complaint of foul-play in her death by her parents forced police higher-ups to launch a detailed investigation.

The police claimed that Sooraj purchased both the viper and the cobra from a snake handler to kill his wife and make it seem like a natural snakebite. Though the attempt by getting the viper to bite her in March 2020 failed as she was hospitalised in time, he managed to repeat the devious act with the cobra two months later. She was under treatment for over 50 days at a hospital following the first snakebite.

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