October 15, 2019
It could be an obsession for property and wealth that drove Jolly from Kozhikode to allegedly eliminate six of her family members in a period of 14 years, a renowned psychologist says.
Following her arrest over the serial killing, shocking revelations have surfaced, prompting mind experts to analyse the ruthlessness in the woman, who they think had an insane desire to possess wealth.
Kochi-based psychologist Dr C J John said it was the sheer rejection by Jolly of the concept of family, and the bond it creates that could have pushed her to meticulously plan the murders, rope in accomplices, and execute them over a long period of time so that there is little to suspect her role in them.
“It’s the work of a hardened criminal,” the doctor said.
The killings of six members of a family at Koodathai village in the Kozhikode district between 2002 and 2016, reads like a crime thriller, and has shaken human conscience. It can be likened to the case of Harold Shipman, the English practitioner, who way back in 2000 was found guilty of killing 260 people, some of whom were his patients. A day before his 58th birthday on January 13, 2004, he committed suicide. Killing, for him, was pleasure.
Known for her `pious’ ways, Jolly was known to attend church services regularly, go for retreats, hold prayer meetings at home. The image she etched in the minds of people in the neighbourhood was so devout that they were deeply shocked when she was arrested for the killings following the exhumation of the bodies from the cemeteries of two churches nearby.
She claimed she was a lecturer at the National Institute of Technology in Kozhikode that raised her social status among people there, and probably used as a ‘cover’ for her heinous activities. According to police, the crimes were committed by lacing food with cyanide, which she sourced from a goldsmith Prajukumar with the help of her friend and jewellery employee M S Mathew.
A retired teacher Annamma Thomas (57) died in 2002. Six years later, Annamma’s husband Tom Thomas (66) died. In 2011, their son Roy Thomas (40), Jolly’s husband, died and the autopsy report established the cause as poisoning. This was, however, written off as a case of suicide. In 2014, Annamma’s brother Mathew Manjadiyil died under similar circumstances. All were buried at the Lourde Matha Church cemetery at Koodathai.
Two years later after Jolly developed an affinity towards Shaju, husband of Mathew’s daughter Sili, she executed her next move. The couple’s twoyear-old daughter Alpine was killed and later she did away with Sili. Hardly three months passed, Jolly married Shaju.
Jolly got entitled to the properties through a will of her father-in-law Tom Thomas that she allegedly fabricated. As part of this investigation, the police are probing village and registration department officials who were party to the deal. Local politicians, including a CPM local committee leader and another of the Indian Union Muslim League, who had financial dealings with Jolly, may tumble into the police net.
The bizarre working of her mind is complex, says Dr John. During the funeral ceremonies, like a member of the family she wore a veil of sadness, perhaps, planning the next murder she was going to commit, says Dr John.
That she could successfully commit her first crime without leaving a trace of suspicion, must have emboldened her to go forward with her plans, said the psychologist. Her strong desire to commit these crimes influenced her state of mind so much that she could kill the two-year-old Alpine without any hesitation or remorse, he said. Only a mind with an insane obsession that can make someone do the crimes she is said to have done, Dr John said.
The serial killings unfolded when police acted on the complaint of one of Annamma-Tom Thomas couple’s sons, Rojo, over a property dispute. It was also her fake NIT identity and the fabricated will that gave the game away. While deliberations for a compromise on the property dispute was going on, Jolly’s demand for withdrawal of a complaint by Rojo raising suspicion about the deaths, strengthened our inkling, and made things easier, said a top investigation source.
A hardened criminal such as Jolly qualifies for further analysis, say experts in psychology. Unless she had such a mindset, she would not have closely followed the probe that began secretly two months ago when police questioned 200 people in the vicinity, and yet remained unfazed until the moment of her arrest.