Ice cream laced with rat poison: New Kerala murder case involving family comes to light

Thiruvananthapuram: Just what is happening to families in Kerala is a question that is doing the rounds in the state this week with the revelation that the death of a teenage girl in the state’s northernmost district of Kasaragod was masterminded by her own brother.

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Annmary Maria, 16 lost her life after consuming ice cream laced with rat poison, allegedly the handiwork of her brother Albin Benny, 21. According to reports, Benny had planned to eliminate his parents and sister and laced their ice creams with rat poison on July 31.

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Maria fell seriously sick after consuming the ice cream, was hospitalised on August 5 and lost her life shortly thereafter. Her parents narrowly escaped death and when blood sample tests and Maria’s post mortem examination showed traces of poison, police swooped in on the alleged perpetrator, Benny.

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Second attempt

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Local reports indicated that Benny had made another attempt to murder his family members a few weeks earlier by trying to poison a curry, but had failed on that occasion. Police sources were quoted as saying that Benny had been wanting to marry his girlfriend, and take over all the family’s entire assets.

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The murder of Maria is the third prominent case in Kerala in recent times of a family member being the villain in case.

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Two other cases

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In May this year, investigation by the crime branch of Kerala Police into the death of Uthara, a 25-year-old woman in Kollam district, by snake bite revealed that it was her husband, Suraj who hatched the murder plot.

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Suraj had plotted with his snake-catcher friend Suresh to make a venomous snake bite Uthara when she was asleep. Uthara recovered the first time Suraj allegedly attempted to murder her through snake bite, undergoing a weeks-long treatment at a local hospital. However, she succumbed the second time her husband attempted the same crime.

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More shocking than these two cases was that of Jolly Joseph of Koodathayi near Kozhikode allegedly eliminating her husband Roy Thomas and five others of his family by administering cyanide to the victims over a 14-year period between 2002 and 2016.

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Anti-social personality disorder

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“In many of these cases, one can see the presence of anti-social personality disorder (ASPD). They have no guilty conscience and show little remorse”, Dr P.M. Chacko, a physician and psychiatrist who consults in Kerala, and also engages sessions in the Gulf countries, told Gulf News.

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Dr Chacko says family backgrounds also play a major role. “Among many youngsters today, stress tolerance is low, which in turn may be because parents do everything for them and the children are not exposed to challenging situations,” he said.

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According to him, in some cases there may be genetic pre-disposition to crime, but even for those people the criminal tendency will manifest only when the environment also turns conducive for the crime.

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