Indian man rented deadly cobra to kill his disabled wife and steal her property

The man was sentenced to double life imprisonment for murdering the wife by making a cobra bite her while she was sleeping.

A man who unleashed a venomous cobra on his sleeping wife has been handed a double life sentence by a court in Kerala. Sooraj Kumar, 28, conducted extensive research on snake bites as part of his devious plan to kill his wife and take her money, the court heard.

Snake as a Murder Weapon

Kumar first set loose a highly venomous Russell’s viper snake on his 25-year-old wife Uthra in March 2020, leaving her in hospital for almost two months. While she was recovering from that initial attack in her parent’s house, he rented another snake - this time a cobra - to bite her. She died in May 2020 from snake bites.

Kumar was arrested shortly after his wife’s death after her parents raised suspicions over their daughter being harassed for more dowry. Their suspicions grew after Kumar tried to take control of Uthra’s property upon her death. Uthra was from an affluent family, but her husband, a bank worker, was from a poorer background.

Kumar, 28, was given a double life sentence by a Kerala court AFP

Their marriage involved a big dowry including a new car and 500,000 rupees (about $6,640) which was given to Kumar.

The public prosecutor, who had sought the death penalty, told the court:

The mode of execution and the diabolic plan of the accused to murder Uthra, his wife who was bedridden, makes it [the case] fall into the category of rarest of rare.

The media is reporting that Kumar’s family was also charged with conspiracy after some of Uthra’s gold was found buried near his home days after the murder.

Rajasenan, Uthra's father, said:

I am happy finally my daughter got justice. We expect maximum punishment for Sooraj. We pray no other parents should undergo our experience.

Worrying Trend

The Supreme Court in India recently warned against a trend of snakebite murders being recording across the country. The warning came when the court denied bail to a woman and her lover who were accused of using a cobra to kill her mother-in-law in 2019.

The Supreme Court of India has cautioned against the trend of using snakes as murder weapons Getty Images

In recent years, two other defendants were acquitted by other courts in similar cases when prosecutions failed to prove that poisonous snakes were used as a murder weapon.

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