Indian woman killed by a snake but husband was found to be responsible. The mother to an indian woman found her daughter Uthra lying motionless in bed at their family home with her left arm doted with blood.
She was immediately rushed to the hospital kollam in the southern Indian state of Kerala but the 25-year-old Uthra was already dead.
According to a post- mortem on May 7, 2020. It was confirmed that she has been bitten hours earlier by a highly venomous Indian cobra.
India is a place popularly known of having low records of snake bites due to their tradition. The girls family found the death of their daughter very uncommon and filed a complaint with the police.
After trials, Uthra’s killer was found guilty and justice was brought to Uthra. The killer was sentenced to life in prison for crimes that judge described as “diabolic and ghastly”
After serious investigations, The judge found out that Uthra’s death was caused by the cobra — but the real killer was her husband.
And this wasn’t the first time he’d used a snake as a death weapon.
Suraj Kumar and Uthra married in 2018, but by 2019 he was plotting her death.
The family of Uthra said they wants to find someone who would make Uthra happy. Uthra was a girl with a little difference. She had a learning disability so the family married her off to someone who they think will take good care of her.
Kumar, a 27-year-old bank clerk, did not come from a wealthy background. His father was an auto-rickshaw driver, and his mother, a housewife.
In Accordance to judgment, Kumar married Uthra “with the object of financial gain.”
When the couple married, Kumar accepted a dowry of 720 grams of gold, a Suzuki sedan and 500,000 rupees (about $6,700) in cash.
The first few months of married life seemed “uneventful” and within a year they had a son, the judgment said. But it wasn’t long before Kumar’s parents wanted more.
According to the judgment, Kumar’s parents took advantage of Uthra to demand that Uthra’s parents should pay for household appliances, a car, furniture, renovation work, and admission fees for an MBA course for Kumar’s sister.
“Uthra was someone who never saw bad in anyone,” Vishu said.
“Her learning disability meant she didn’t have the chance to see that she was being used.”
Uthra’s father told the court he met all of Kumar’s demands and also paid him 8,000 rupees ($107) per month to take care of his daughter.
But the wicked Kumar grew “dissatisfied” with Uthra’s learning disability, according to the judgment.
He began to plot her death.
Failed murder attempt
In late 2019, Kumar appeared to develop an obsession with snakes. He spent hours on the internet, watching YouTube videos, including episodes of “Snake Master,” featuring renowned snake expert Vava Suresh.
Suresh’s YouTube channel, which has more than 270,000 subscribers, shows him calmly interacting with snakes, including the highly potent Russell’s viper, one of the most aggressive snakes in Asia.Snake catcher Vava Suresh is widely known for rescuing snakes from human habitats in Kerala.
On February 26, Kumar bought a deadly Russell’s viper from snake handler Chavarukavu Suresh — no relation to Vava Suresh — for 10,000 rupees ($135), prosecutors said. The next day, he left the snake on the staircase of his house and asked Uthra to fetch his phone from the first floor bedroom, hoping that it would bite and kill her.
“But he failed in the attempt since Uthra saw the snake and raised alarm calls,” according to the judgment.
Kumar captured the snake and kept it in a plastic bag, and on the night of March 2, he tried again.
Yet another failed plan
Kumar mixed sedatives into a sweet bowl of Indian rice pudding before Uthra fell “fast asleep.”
As she slept, Kumar forced the viper to bite her before throwing the serpent out of the house to destroy the evidence.
Russell's vipers are nocturnal and dwell in dry places, under shrubs.
Russell’s vipers are nocturnal and dwell in dry places, under shrubs.
Uthra woke up screaming in “excruciating pain,” and with some delay she was taken to the hospital by Kumar, who claimed she had been bitten outside at night while washing clothes.
Uthra contradicted his version of events by saying she never did the washing after dusk.
The very next day, as his wife lay in hospital, Kumar was back on his phone researching snakes — but this time he searched for “cobra.”
Uthra spent 52 days in Pushpagiri Hospital in the Kerala town of Thiruvalla recovering from the viper bite, and when she was finally released to her parent’s care on April 22 last year, she was unable to walk.
As she lay in bed, her leg bandaged after skin grafts, Kumar decided to strike.
On May 6, just 15 days after she had left hospital, he smuggled another snake he’d bought from snake handler Chavarukavu Suresh into her parent’s house. This time it was a cobra.
Before going to bed, Kumar gave Uthra a glass of juice laced with sedatives, according to the judgment. As she slept, Kumar threw the serpent at her, but the reptile didn’t bite, so he grabbed its head and forced its fangs deep into her left arm — twice.
Despite his efforts to make it appear as an accident, a number of clues suggested the bites weren’t natural — from the width of the fang marks, to the position of the bites, and the impossibility that the cobra had entered the room on its own.
“Cobras generally do not bite unless they are highly provoked. And after 8 p.m. they’re generally dormant”
Hari Shankar, Kerala Police
The two pairs of bite marks on Uthra’s arm had a width of 2.3 and 2.8 centimeters (0.9 and 1.1 inches) respectively, much larger than the typical width of cobra fangs of between 0.4 to 1.6 centimeters (0.16 to 0.63 inches), experts told the court.
That indicated the cobra’s upper jaw had been pushed as if it was being milked.
The time of day also raised suspicion.
“Cobras generally do not bite unless they are highly provoked. And after 8 p.m. they’re generally dormant,” said Hari Shankar, an assistant inspector general at Kerala Police, who worked as lead investigator on the case.
In court, investigators demonstrated their argument by setting up an experiment to demonstrate whether a cobra would strike a sleeping person.
In the video, the same type of cobra was thrown on a bed with a mannequin at night. The video shows the snake slithering away several times and only biting into a chicken breast tied to a limb when repeatedly provoked.Experts also raised doubts over how the cobra came to be in Uthra’s room.
Cobras can only raise themselves vertically to one-third of their length, the court was told, meaning the 152-centimeter (60-inch) cobra that bit Uthra could only have raised itself to a height of around 50 centimeters — not high enough to enter through the windows. Three air holes in the room were also sealed.
And lastly, Uthra had slept through what was arguably one of the most painful experiences of her life.
Vava Suresh, the star snake catcher Kumar had watched online, was called to give evidence. He told the court that during his 30-year career he had been bitten 16 times by a Russell’s viper and 340 times by cobra, resulting in “excruciating” and “severe” pain — though only three viper bites and 10 cobra bites were “critical,” he said.
The snake catcher said he had to amputate his left middle finger after a cobra bite, and after another bite can no longer fully rotate his right wrist. He said a snake that bites for self-protection would not strike twice, as the animals spare their venom. And he was sure Uthra would have woken on being bitten — if she hadn’t been sedated.Kumar stayed awake all night after the attack, the judgment said, during which he destroyed the evidence by washing the glass tumbler and the stick used to handle the snake.
He also deleted his call history, which proved he had been in contact with the snake handler, according to the judgment.
After Uthra was pronounced dead, her brother Vishu found the cobra inside the family home and killed it. He followed police advice to bury the serpent at the house and marked the location with a stick.
During the investigation, the snake’s carcass was dug up, and a post-mortem examination showed its abdomen was empty — a “very significant” development, according to the investigator, Shankar.
“Generally, a snake takes seven days to digest food,” he said. “Which means it had been at least seven days since it had eaten something. A cobra which lives in a natural habitat eats at least twice in a day.
“So that means the snake that bit Uthra had been kept in confinement.”
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