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Indian man gets double life sentence for killing wife using Cobra

The Kollam Additional Sessions Court in Kerala, India on Wednesday, imposed a double life sentence on Sooraj S Kumar for killing his wife using a cobra.

Sooraj had killed his 25-year-old wife, Uthra on May 7, 2020, by letting a cobra bite her in her sleep.

The crime became known widely known as the ‘Uthra murder case’ and garnered international attention.

In a case described by the prosecution as ‘rarest of the rare’, the convict was awarded life sentences on charges of Sections 302 (murder) and 307 (attempt to murder) as well as 10 years rigorous imprisonment under Section 328 (causing harm using poison) and seven years imprisonment under Section 201 (causing disappearance of evidence) of the IPC along with a fine of Rs 5 lakh.

The trial court stopped short of awarding the convict the death penalty considering his young age and no past criminal antecedents, underlining that there are opportunities for him to reform.

However, the court made it clear that the convict would undergo jail sentences of 10 years and 7 years consecutively before starting his double life sentence.

Investigating officer and former Kollam Rural SP S Harishankar told reporters that he was satisfied with the verdict.

“The quantum of sentence is decided by judicial discretion and has a lot of factors to keep in mind. The court has already found the accused guilty on all four charges arrayed by the investigating officers and the prosecution. Our efforts end there. We cannot comment on the quantum of sentence,” he said.

The victim’s mother Manimeghalai, who monitored the proceedings of the trial from her home in Anchal in Kollam district, said she was not happy with the verdict as she was expecting the court to award the death penalty to Sooraj.

“These are the flaws of the judiciary as there are loopholes. People get away using those loopholes. Had the extreme punishment given, it would have acted as a deterrent for others to desist from doing crimes. We will go in appeal,” said the grieving mother.

The case dates back to May 7, 2020 when Uthra, a differently-abled mother of a one-year-old, was found dead due to a snakebite at her home.


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