Under a murderer’s umbrella… Chennai’s serial killer is India’s most sophisticated criminal

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This is a man that could feature as one of world’s most sophisticated criminal and murderer of the century by the likes of Discovery Channel. A middle-aged man in Chennai used an umbrella to disguise his weapon, and kill people he detested by shooting them with the deadly cyanide. All of his victims died, but had no trace of any poison in their body was ever found.

In 2015, a very docile and pious-looking, Stephen, 41, killed six people by injecting cyanide. Three of them were his relatives and acquaintances, and the other two were homeless destitute, who Stephen and his aides used as guinea pigs to test the poison. Since cyanide is not available in Tamil Nadu, Stephen’s three aides helped him in procuring cyanide from Mumbai.

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Stephen, a real estate businessman, injected cyanide on his victims to kill them.

The matter came into light when Stephen complained to the police that his house has been burgled, and the burglars took away several of his sovereigns. Based on CCTV footage, when police nabbed the three burglars, they were in for shock because what the men revealed about their boss was totally unheard off in India.

The police arrested Stephen on Wednesday, on charges of three murders that occurred over a period of six months in 2015. Stephen attached cyanide-filled syringes to his umbrella, and he poked them casually into his victims’ thighs. He told the police that he researched about this method of killing on the Internet.

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In September 1978, writer Georgi Markov was killed by the Bulgarian Secret Service in cahoots with the Russian intelligence KGB.

Stephen might have been inspired by the high profile murder of a Bulgarian writer, Georgi Markov, almost four decades back. Markov, a novelist and playwright,defected from communist-ruled Bulgaria in 1969.Moving to the UK, Markov started working as a BBC World Service broadcaster and used it as platform to criticize the Bulgarian regime with his satire.

In September 1978, the Bulgarian Secret Service, in cahoots with the Russian intelligence KGB killed the writer in a very shrewd way. On the fateful morning, as Markov waited at a London bus stop to take a bus to his job at the BBC,he felt a slight sharp sting on the back of his right thigh.

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A model of the poison throwing umbrella (left), and the micro pellet that was found beneath the skin of dead writer Markov.

As a startled Markov turned around, he saw a man hurriedly picking up an umbrella off the ground and scampering to the other side of the street. Before the writer could understand anything, the mysterious umbrella man hailed a taxi and disappeared.

Arriving at work, Markov noticed a small red spot had around the sting. The sharp pain had not subsided at all, and that night he was admitted to hospital for developing fever. The writer never recovered, and he breathed his last on 11 September 1978, four days after the incident. He was 49.

The bus stop (right) where Bulgarian dissident Georgi Markov was murdered by a Ricin shot

Autopsy reports said that Markov’s death was caused by poisoning from a micro ricin-filled pellet. In those days, ricin had no antidote. Later, well-known KGB defectors, such as Oleg Kalugin and Oleg Gordievsky, confirmed that the agency was in cahoots with Bulgaria and admitted that they provided the assassin with a poisonous substance to rub on Markov’s skin, if the injection plan failed.

In spite of all the uproar, nobody has been charged till date as Markov’s murder. However, the recent case has been thankfully unearthed, and the police has unwittingly saved many likely victims from the devious plans of Stephen.

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