An Indian man has been convicted for murdering his wife by making a cobra and a viper bite her while she was sleeping.
Kumar was handed a double life sentence in what prosecutors have called the “rarest of rare” cases.
According to prosecutors in the southern Kerala state, Sooraj Kumar (28), set loose a highly venomous Russell’s viper snake on his wife Uthra that left her in hospital for almost two months.
While she recovered at her parents’ house, he obtained a cobra from a snake handler and threw it at his sleeping wife. Its poisonous bite killed the 25-year-old woman in May 2020.
The suspect was arrested from his home last year after Uthra’s parents raised suspicions, alleging that their daughter was being harassed for more dowry.
The woman’s parents said Kumar tried to take control of her property after the death.
On Monday, a court in Kerala’s Kollam district held Kumar guilty of murder and poisoning his wife, and of making an earlier attempt to kill her using a Russell’s viper.
On Wednesday, Judge M Manoj sentenced the convict to two consecutive life sentences.
The judge, however, did not accept the prosecution demand for capital punishment considering his age and opportunity to reform.
Kumar had pleaded not guilty to the charges but police said his phone records showed he was in touch with snake handlers and had watched snake videos on the internet before the killing.
Moreover, he stayed in the room with Uthra after the cobra bit her and went about his morning routine the next day when alerted by the woman’s mother.
Uthra was from an affluent family but her husband, a bank worker, was not well off.
Their marriage involved a big dowry including a new car and 500 000 rupees (about $6 640).
In India, the bride’s family typically gives the groom a dowry [lobola] while in Zimbabwe it’s the family of the groom that gives lobola to the bride’s family.