How ‘Serial Killer Jolly’ hid her dark side behind a charming smile


Kozhikode (KERALA) | Oct 13, 2019:

For many in the nondescript village of Koodathayi in Kerala, this pious woman was a proud faculty of the prestigious National Institute of Technology (NIT) till some days ago.

Some others took her to be a talkative beauty parlour staff having a wide network of friends. But, for the entire village of Koodathayi, a sleepy hamlet in Kozhikode in north Kerala, 47-year old Jolly Thomas, the alleged cyanide killer arrested recently in connection with the death of her first husband Roy Thomas in 2011, was a religious person spending her weekends in a local church here and prayer groups.


With serial killer Jolly Thomas confessing to all the six deaths between 2002 and 2016 in her family, she told the police she liked death and the news of death.

According to the police, Jolly Thomas revealed that death fascinated her and she always wanted to know more about death and read such news. However, during the questioning, Jolly Thomas said she didn't wish to witness any more deaths and the only death that she wished for was hers.

It also came to light that Jolly's penchant for luxurious life was the motive behind the crime and she never expected to be caught. People are shocked to know that contrary to her image of a good homemaker, she boozed, had extra-marital affairs and acted as a real estate agent.

The police revealed that she often carried cyanide in her bag.


Everything from her claim of being an NIT lecturer at Kozhikode to a good laity turned out to be a web of lies in the investigation opened by the Crime Branch wing of the Kerala Police.

Lilly, a local woman, said she and Jolly had spent time together at a divine retreat centre just days before the police arrested her from "Ponnaramattom", her village house where some of the suspected murders had taken place.

Jolly even used to hold prayer meetings at her house, in which local devotees would take part, she said. "We were together for a one-day meditation at the retreat centre just days ago. She looked very much cool and composed even when I asked about the ongoing police inquiry about the death of her husband Roy Thomas," she said.



The villagers of Kozhikode in north Kerala could remember her only as a staunch Catholic who never gave a miss to the Sunday mass, Biblical sessions and prayer gatherings and as a "mature" woman who had appeared composed even during the series of deaths in the family.

The dumbstruck villagers are now trying hard to cope with the reality that the jovial homemaker had hidden the mind of a psychopath serial killer behind her charming smile and managed to lead a normal life as one among them after eliminating six lives at regular intervals.

Neighbours remembered her as a multi-tasking professional, who drove to the NIT campus every morning after her daily chores at home. "We used to see Jolly going to NIT driving her car every morning. There are several people who met her on the campus of the prestigious institution. I don't know how she managed it. There was no room for any doubt till the police case came up," Manoj Kumar, another villager, said.

Even the teachers of the local school, where her second son is studying, were made to believe that she, a commerce graduate, in reality, was an NIT faculty. It is still a mystery where the woman used to go and spend the whole day from morning till evening if she was not working at the engineering college.

It was also yet to unravel how she managed to forge the identity card of the prestigious institution and enter the campus, library and canteen frequently.

In reality, Jolly had forged the certificate of a post-graduation course and that of the University Grants Commission to convince people about her NIT identity, police sources said adding she was not a B.Tech graduate, as claimed by her but a commerce degree holder.

Sulekha, a local beauty parlour owner, dismissed Jolly's claim to a section of friends and relatives that she was an employee in the saloon. "I have know Jolly for some time… but she was just a customer… she convinced me also that she was a NIT faculty," Sulekha said.


Besides Jolly, M S Mathew (44), a close friend of the woman and Prajikumar (48), who had allegedly supplied the cyanide, have so far been arrested.

Police had also earlier taken Jolly's second husband, 44-year-old Shaju Zacharia in custody for interrogation as it suspected that he knew that key-accused Jolly Joseph had poisoned and killed his wife and daughter. Shaju was questioned for almost the whole day last week and was let off after his statement was recorded. Shaju has been asked to appear again before the police on Monday.

With her six-day police custody set to end on Oct 16, Superintendent of Police K.G. Simon, who is leading the probe team, said on Sunday further custody would be sought, if required.

"The probe is going well. Jolly has confessed to all the six murders. Evidences are there against the three accused. At the moment nothing could be said about Shaju, second husband of Jolly Thomas," said Simon.

Despite all the confessions, the police know they have only circumstantial evidences and they continue to dig deep for the evidence to nail Jolly in the court.

The police are awaiting the first round of forensic reports on all the six bodies, exhumed a few days before Jolly and her two accomplices were arrested. They are also awaiting arrival of the complainant, Jolly's husband's brother, from the US.


Jolly Joseph has confessed to killing her husband and Shaju's wife to marry Shaju. The couple married in 2017. Shaju is the cousin brother of Roy Thomas, Jolly's first husband.

Investigation revealed that Jolly served cyanide-laced with food to the victims. The first reported killing was executed in 2002 by Jolly wherein the victim was identified as her mother-in-law, Anamma Thomas.

Six years later in 2008, Jolly allegedly killed her father-in-law Tom Thomas. In 2011, Jolly executed her then-husband Roy Thomas.

The killing spree continued at regular intervals in the residence of the Thomas family. The next victim in the queue was Roy Thomas' maternal uncle Mathew who died under similar circumstances in 2014. Two years later, another close relative Sili, the wife of Shaju(Jolly's paramour), and her one-year-old child died under similar circumstances.

(Source: IANS/PTI)