Kerala snakebite murder: Husband Sooraj sentenced to life for Uthra’s killing

The Additional Sessions Court in Kollam had two days ago held Sooraj guilty of using a cobra as a murder weapon to kill his wife Uthra.

news Crime Wednesday, October 13, 2021 - 12:35

The Additional Sessions Court in Kollam of Kerala on Wednesday, October 13, sentenced Sooraj S Kumar to life imprisonment for murdering his wife Uthra using a cobra as a murder weapon. The court has also imposed a fine of Rs 5 lakh on him. The Kerala court had pronounced its verdict in the case on October 11, holding Sooraj guilty of poisoning and murdering Uthra, his 25-year-old wife, on May 7, 2020, by making a snake bite her. The prosecution had demanded death penalty for Sooraj. 

Uthra was found dead at her parents’ home in Anchal, Kollam, where she had been recuperating from injuries after an earlier snakebite by a viper in March 2020, when she was staying with Sooraj and his parents at their house. Sooraj has been found guilty of poisoning her twice, with the second snakebite leading to her death.

It was the proximity of the two snake bite incidents and a police complaint by Uthra's parents against Sooraj that led the police to investigate murder charges in the case. The police investigation into Uthra’s death was led by Crime Branch Deputy Superintendent of Police A Ashokan and the then Kollam Superintendent of Police (rural) S Harishankar.

Snake experts were called in to establish how both the snakebites could have been induced. A viper, for instance, does not usually climb trees or heights so it was unlikely to have crawled up to the first floor where Uthra was when she got bitten. In the second attempt, when a cobra was set on her, Sooraj tried to establish that it came through the open window, whereas the snake could not have climbed the height of 150 cm to reach the window. The police even used a dummy to scientifically prove that the cobra bite was induced. 

Also read: Video: Kerala police try to reconstruct Uthra’s murder using a cobra and dummy

The police concluded in their chargesheet filed against Sooraj that he had wanted to get hold of all the gold and dowry that Uthra brought with her when they got married, while getting rid of her to marry another woman. Uthra and Sooraj got married in 2018. At the time of her death, the couple's child was one and a half years old and is now under the care of Uthra’s parents.

Also read: Kerala cops studied snakebite murder cases in Nagpur and Indore to get justice for Uthra