Jolly Joseph is an Indian suspected criminal, who is alleged to be the main accused in the murder of six of her family members in Koodathayi, Kozhikode district in Kerala in around 14 years.
Jolly Joseph aka Joliyamma CNN was born in 1972 (age 51 years; as of 2023) in Vazhavara, Idukki, Kerala. She did her schooling at St. Mary’s High School, Vazhavara. From 1998 to 1991, she pursued her graduation at M.E.S. College, Nedumkandam, Kerala. Gulf News Reportedly, she told her in-laws that she did BTech and was a visiting professor at the National Institute of Technology (NIT). Whereas, her neighbours said that she told them that she did MCom. Gulf News
Height (approx.): 5′ 5″
Hair Colour: Black
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Parents & Siblings
Her father, K Joseph, is a farmer and owns a ration shop. Her mother is suffering from mental illness. She has two elder brothers and two elder sisters and one younger brother named Nobi Thomas. One of her elder sisters is deaf and mute.
Husband & Children
In 1997, Jolly had a love marriage with Roy Thomas. Jolly has two sons named Romo Thomas and Ronald Thomas with Roy Thomas.
In 2016, after her husband’s demise, she got married to Roy Thomas’s first cousin Shaju Zacharia, who was a school teacher.
Ponnamattam Veedu, Koodathai Bazar, Koodathai Village, Thamarassery, Kozhikode, Kerala
Koodathayi Cyanide Murders
Death of Family Members
After her marriage to Roy, she moved to Roy Thomas’s ancestral home in Koodathayi where her father-in-law Tom Thomas, mother-in-law Annamma Thomas and a few other members used to live.
In 2002, her mother-in-law passed away due to some health issues. In 2008, her father-in-law also died from a heart attack and at the time of his death foam was coming out of his mouth. Within three years, her husband Roy passed away. A few moments before his death, just his father a foam was coming out of his mouth. After Roy’s demise, his maternal uncle Mathew Manjadiyil insisted on a post-mortem as he suspected that something was wrong. In the post-mortem report, it was found out that Roy had consumed cyanide, a chemical commonly used in mining and jewellery-making. The local police ruled it as a suicide case and did not investigate the case. After Roy’s demise, Jolly started to maintain a distance from her relatives and neighbours. However, her neighbours assumed that she was in a bad phase of her life, so they did not pay much deed to it. The series of death in her house continued, and in 2014, her husband Roy’s uncle Mathew Manjadiyil died of a heart attack followed by the death of Alphine, the two-year-old daughter of Roy Thomas’s paternal cousin Shaju Sakhariyas in the same year. In 2016, Shaju Sakhariyas’ wife Sili Sakhariyas also passed away.
After a series of demise in the same house, Jolly’s relatives and neighbours started believing that the house was cursed or possessed with some negative energies. The case took a different turn in 2017 when Jolly got married to Shaju Sakhariya, a paternal cousin of her husband Roy.
Investigation and Arrests
After the demise of Jolly’s first husband Roy, the property was transferred to Jolly instead of Roy’s real brother Rojo Thomas. Rojo then started collecting information about Jolly’s past. Initially, Rojo found out that Jolly was lying about her job at NIT. Rojo even asked for a copy of the post-mortem of Roy Thomas. He found out that Jolly had said that she cooked an omelette for Roy but according to the post-mortem report Roy had rice and chickpea curry in the dinner before he died. Later, Rojo, along with her sister, filed a complaint at the district police station which was forwarded to Thamarassery Police Station near Kozhikode. However, their complaint was rejected as it was registered as a suicide case. Rojo then moved to the crime unit of the Kozhikode police who agreed to investigate the matter. Initially, the police confirmed that she was not working at NIT and around 50 discrepancies between her statements to the police and evidence were found. As no post-mortem was done of dead family members excluding Roy, the local crime unit of Kozhikode police decided to take out the buried bodies of Jolly’s family members for further investigation. After around two months of investigation, Kozhikode district police superintendent KG Simon conducted a press conference and shared that Joseph was arrested as she confessed to her crime that she had murdered all six family members with cyanide.
The local police said that she had murdered them for Roy’s property and other assets. According to the local crime unit of Kozhikode police, in October 2019, Jolly confessed that she used cyanide to kill six of her family members with the help of M. S. Mathew (jewellery shop employee) and Praji Kumar (goldsmith). According to the police, M. S. Mathew, an employee at a jewellery shop and a relative of Jolly, helped Jolly by providing cyanide from the goldsmith Praji Kumar. Reportedly, Mathew said that he gave Rs 5000 and two bottles of alcohol to Praji in exchange for cyanide. In defence, Mathew said that Jolly had asked him to provide her cyanide to kill rats at her home.
According to the local crime unit of Kozhikode police, Jolly poisoned her in-laws to get control over the finances of the family by giving them cyanide in their food. After her in-law’s demise, her relationship with her husband Roy was worsened, so she poisoned him too with cyanide. She then killed her husband’s uncle Manjadiyil by mixing cyanide in his alcohol; as he was inspecting the murders closely. To marry Shaju, she killed his wife and daughter by mixing cyanide in their food. However, no strong evidence was found against her. Her second husband Shaju was also under suspicion, but no evidence was found against him.
In 2023, Jolly’s advocate BA Aloor pleaded in the Kerala High Court to discharge her as she was imprisoned without any solid evidence. However, the court rejected the plea and said that the materials on record were sufficient to take the prima facie view that her involvement in the murder could be suspected. The Times of India
In Popular Culture
In 2019, Jolly’s cyanide murder story was depicted in episodes 100, 101, and 102 of the popular Hindi TV series ‘Crime Patrol Satark,’ which aired on Sony TV.
In the same year, a Malayalam TV serial titled ‘Koodathayi’ based on Jolly’s case was aired on Flowers TV.
On 7 September 2020, an English podcast ‘Death, Lies & Cyanide’ was launched on Spotify which was narrated by the Indian journalist Sashi Kumar. The podcast has ten episodes.
On 22 December 2023, a Netflix documentary series ‘Curry & Cyanide: The Jolly Joseph Case’ was released on Netflix. The documentary is available in six languages.
- Her neighbours once shared that Jolly used to be a very talkative and well-mannered child.
- She used to regularly visit her nearby churches and attend the Sunday prayers.
- According to Kozhikode police, she has confessed that she hated girls and had two abortions as she was expecting a girl child. Gulf News
- While talking to a reporter, one of her neighbours shared that Jolly had a habit of stealing. She once stole money from her home and later, when she was in college, she stole a gold bangle from her classmate. When Jolly’s father came to know about it, she was beaten so badly by her father that even her arm was broken. Gulf News
- In 2020, Jolly allegedly tried to commit suicide in jail, where she was imprisoned. She was then immediately rushed to the Medical College in Kozhikode. The Indian Express