Man gets double life sentence by Indian court for murdering his younger, wealthier wife with a COBRA while she slept
- Sooraj Kumar first released a poisonous viper on his wife Uthra in Kerala
- She was hospitalized and recovering when he released a cobra and killed her
- Kumar tried to seize control of her family’s wealth and is now in prison
An Indian man who used a cobra and viper to kill his wife to gain control of her family’s wealth has been sentenced to double life in prison in ‘rare of rare cases’.
Sooraj Kumar released a highly venomous Russell’s viper snake on his wife Uthra, 25, who left her in the hospital for nearly two months, prosecutors said.
While recovering at her parents’ house, the 28-year-old man was given a cobra by a snake handler and threw it at his sleeping wife.
His venomous bite killed Uthra and Sooraj was arrested last year.
It is believed to be the first time anyone in India has been convicted of murder by using a snake as a weapon.
Sooraj has been convicted of murdering his wife Uthra by releasing a cobra in her room after failing first with a viper
He pleaded not guilty, but police said his phone records showed that he had been in contact with snake handlers and had watched snake videos on the internet before the murder last March in Kollam in the southern state of Kerala.
Sooraj stayed in the room with Uthra after the cobra bit her and went about his morning routine the next day when he was warned by the woman’s mother, prosecutors said.
“Due to the method of execution and the devilish plan of the accused to murder Uthra, his bedridden wife, the case falls into the category of rarest of rare,” said the prosecutor, who had demanded the death penalty.
Snake handler Vava Suresh said it was possible that Sooraj “hurt the reptile to provoke it to bite,” the Hindustan Times quoted him as saying.
Sooraj had bought the deadly cobra (pictured) from a snake catcher from Kalluvathukkal
Uthra came from a wealthy family, but her husband, a bank employee, was not well off.
The dead woman’s parents became suspicious after Sooraj attempted to take control of her property after the death.
Their marriage included a large dowry, including a new car and 500,000 rupees (£5,000).
According to media reports, Sooraj’s family was charged with conspiracy after some of Uthra’s gold was found buried near Sooraj’s home days after the murder.
Two other Indians have been tried for snake-assisted murder, but both were found not guilty.