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Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Maid allegedly bashed lover with 5.6kg dumbbell

Sulaiman Kamal | 10:56 PM | | | | Best Blogger Tips

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ONE month before his arranged marriage in India, project supervisor Murugaiyan Selvam was bashed on the head with a dumb-bell, allegedly by his married lover.

Sri Lankan Tharmalingam Puwaneswary, 33, who was working as a maid here, was also said to have used a sharp object to stab his groin.

Mr Murugaiyan, 32, died after the attack which took place in 2009, and the woman is now on trial in the High Court for culpable homicide.

The maid, who is said to be suffering from schizophrenia, was originally charged with murder.

At the start of her hearing yesterday, the prosecution said that she committed the offence as she was “hurt and upset” because she thought he was exploiting her financially and sexually.

Mr Murugaiyan, an Indian national who had been working here since 1998 and was a permanent resident, was found dead with head injuries in his room at the FMC System metal works factory in Kaki Bukit Crescent.

He was estimated to have died between 11pm on Dec 3, 2009 and 9.15am the next morning.

The maid, who is also known as Mary, denies hitting him with the dumb-bell and said that he was alive when she left him soon after midnight.

Her lawyers, Mr Abraham Vergis and Mr Gopinath Pillai, are also challenging the validity of her police confessions in the hearing scheduled for six days.

Both lawyers were assigned to the case by the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme of the Law Society.

In his opening statement, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Amarjit Singh said the couple met in 2006. Although Mr Murugaiyan knew she was married with two children in Sri Lanka, they had an affair.

He would frequently use his company’s lorry to pick her up at her employers’ home in Borthwick Drive in Serangoon Gardens, after her employers had gone to bed at about 10pm.

They would have sex in a hotel or in his room and he would drive her back by 1am. This went on from 2007, and he also promised to marry her.

She lent him money and bought him gifts and jewellery. Twice, he got her to bring him her employer’s cheque book. He forged the signature to pocket a total of $5,000.

In 2009, his family arranged for him to marry a woman in India. He returned to India in September that year for the engagement ceremony.

When he returned to Singapore, he said the marriage would take place in January the next year.

Although she was unhappy, “their illicit affair continued, with (the woman) persistently trying to dissuade” him from the marriage, said the DPP.

On Dec 3 at about 10.30pm, he picked her up and they went to his bedroom in the factory and had sex. 

An argument broke out when he allegedly asked her to bring him her employer’s cheque book so that he could forge another cheque and cash it to use for his wedding.

She refused and accused him of “exploiting” her. He assaulted her and ignored her when she asked him to drive her home. He went to sleep instead. 

It is believed that sometime later, she saw an improvised dumb-bell outside his room. It weighed about 5.6kg.

Using her scarf, which she was wearing over her Punjabi suit, she picked up the dumb-bell with both hands and struck his head twice.

She then “took a sharp object from the table in the room and used it to stab (his) groin region near his genitals”, the court heard. 

She is said to have then washed the dumb-bell and taken a taxi back.

She also took his cellphone and buried it in the backyard of her employers’ home. She was arrested on Dec 16, 2009 and led police to the phone.

Mr Murugaiyan’s colleagues who took the stand said he was looking forward to getting married and was planning to bring his wife over and renting a flat here. 

He showed a few of them the video of the engagement ceremony. None knew of his relationship with the maid.

Former colleague Beh Kang Ling said that at 9am on Dec 4, he knocked repeatedly on Mr Murugaiyan’s door. 

When there was no response, he and another worker broke down the door and found his body in bed covered with a blanket. 

FMC’s project manager Azman Mohamad Ali testified that he had borrowed $2,000 from Mr Murugaiyan at 10 per cent monthly interest in mid-2009. The project supervisor told him that the money came from a friend.

If found guilty, the maid could be jailed for life. Four charges pertaining to the theft and forgery of the cheques have been stood down.

The hearing continues.

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