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Husband ‘killed wife by throwing a cobra at her’ after ‘viper murder bid failed’

A man in India has been arrested for allegedly murdering his wife by letting a cobra loose in her room.

Police in the southern state of Kerala said phone records showed the man, named as Sooraj, had been in contact with serpent handlers and had also watched snake videos on the internet.

A few months ago, Sooraj, 27, got hold of a highly venomous Russell’s viper, which bit his wife, Uthra, and left her in hospital for almost two months, police official Ashok Kumar told AFP.

After failing with the viper, Sooraj obtained a cobra from a snake handler and threw the animal at his sleeping wife, police said.

Police said: ‘Sooraj stayed in the same room as Uthra as if nothing had happened. He was going about his morning routine the next day when he was alerted by Uthra’s mother’s screams. ‘They took her to the hospital where the doctor said she had died,’ officers said.

Uthra’s parents became suspicious when Sooraj tried to secure ownership of his wife’s property just days after her death. She was from an affluent family, but Sooraj, who worked in a private bank, was reportedly not so well off.

The couple also had a one-year-old child.

Police said the marriage involved a huge dowry comprising nearly 100 gold coins, a new car and some 500,000 rupees (around N2.7m) in cash. ‘Sooraj feared that divorcing Uthra would mean giving back all the dowry. That’s when he decided to kill her,’ officers added.

The snake provider was also arrested.

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