After a night of drinking, a teenager was walking home in the early hours of June 4, 2011, when he saw an elderly man praying in a park.
Sumanthiran Selvarajoo, then 18, went up to retiree Loo Nam Sheng, 64, who had his palms together and was swaying his body back and forth while chanting, and asked what he was doing.
When Mr Loo said he was praying, the youth insulted him and assaulted him.
The 6.30am attack in Ang Mo Kio Town Garden West at Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 was so vicious that Mr Loo was pronounced dead about 40 minutes later.
His killer, who had earlier injured another four men in mostly alcohol-fuelled assaults, was originally charged with murder, but it was later reduced to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Sumanthiran, now 22, was sentenced to 16 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane yesterday after pleading guilty to culpable homicide, and one count each of voluntarily causing grievous hurt, causing hurt, and causing hurt with a weapon.
A second charge of causing hurt with a weapon and two counts of theft involving alcoholic drinks worth $26 were taken into consideration.
He committed all seven offences between June 2010 and June 2011. (See report, above)
The court heard yesterday that Sumanthiran killed Mr Loo while he was out on $30,000 bail for his other offences.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Ang Feng Qian said that on June 3, 2011, the teen celebrated a friend’s birthday, went clubbing and consumed alcoholic drinks.
He was seething with anger as he was walking home early the next morning because his brother had been checking on him over the phone.
In his encounter with Mr Loo, Sumanthiran suddenly punched him on the face, causing him to stagger backwards, after a brief exchange of words.
He then repeatedly kicked and punched Mr Loo’s face until he lay on the ground, bloodied and groaning in pain.
Sumanthiran also picked up an umbrella nearby and used it to hit his victim’s shin.
DPP Ang said that he “only ceased when he noticed the amount of blood on the deceased’s face”.
At around 6.40am, he dialled 999 to ask for ambulance assistance, using vulgarities and abusive language when he told an operator that he had “whacked an uncle” at “Mayflower Park”.
He also taunted, “You dare come and catch me”, before hanging up.
About five minutes later, he phoned the Singapore Civil Defence Force and again used vulgarities to tell an operator what he had done.
He later surrendered himself at the Ang Mo Kio Police Division Headquarters. When paramedics and police officers arrived at the park, Mr Loo was lying face up on the grass verge.
He was pronounced dead at 7.10am. An autopsy report dated June 16, 2011 revealed that he had suffered more than 30 injuries to his head, including fractures on his skull and multiple cuts on his face.
He died of severe facial injuries.
Yesterday, DPP Ang urged Justice Woo Bih Li to sentence Sumanthiran to between 18 and 19 years in jail with 12 strokes of the cane.
She said: “The attack was so sudden and the force of the accused’s punches was so strong that the deceased could barely react and had his face effectively smashed in, resulting in multiple fractures and severe shattering in some areas.”
Sumanthiran’s lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, called for his client to be jailed for around 10 years.
He said: “Our client was then an 18-year-old boy who unfortunately strayed off the straight and narrow path”.
Before handing out his sentence, Justice Woo said Sumanthiran had a “volatile and violent temperament” and had injured others without valid reasons.
Five of Sumanthiran’s friends and family members were in court yesterday, but declined to comment when approached by The New Paper outside court.
For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Sumanthiran could have been jailed for life and caned.
He was a teen terror
Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was just 17 when he started committing his string of offences.
He assaulted two older men, Mr Vadiveloo Raju, then 44, and Mr Segaran Socklingam, after befriending them on June 22, 2010, and drinking alcohol together at a pavilion in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 3.
At around 6.30pm that day, Sumanthiran went to a friend’s flat at Block 224 nearby and took a knife and a parang when no one was looking.
After that, he met a friend, a then-14-year-old boy, and told him there were two “old men who wanted to take his territory” and “refused to leave”.
He passed the knife to the boy and they confronted Mr Vadiveloo and Mr Segaran, who were still drinking at the pavilion.
The court heard yesterday that Sumanthiran told the victims that a gang called the Blue Brothers controlled the area. He then attacked them with the parang. He later told police that he was a member of the gang.
Mr Segaran’s injuries included a fracture on his skull and a severed tendon on his right arm. Mr Veloo suffered cuts on his ears and right upper back. The men were taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital.
On Sept 29 that year, Sumanthiran punched and kicked Mr Thevendran Elangoven, then 20, at the void deck of Block 468, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10.
The court heard that Mr Thevendran and Sumanthiran’s cousin had fought after falling out as friends.
Sumanthiran assaulted Mr Thevendran after finding out about the fight.
He also used a bread knife to attack Mr Thevendran’s friend, Shaik Abdul Rasheed Abdul Rahman, then 17, at a carpark near Block 444, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10, on Nov 18.
The victim suffered cuts to his face and right arm.
Sumanthiran was later expelled from Nanyang Polytechnic, where he was studying.
In four of the attacks, he surrendered himself to police.
The only exception was when he attacked Mr Thevendran, after which his father took him to Ang Mo Kio Police Division Headquarters, where he was arrested.
Former coach: Sporting talents could have led him to podium
Before he became mixed up with the law, Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was a promising athlete who dreamed of representing Singapore in the Youth Olympic Games (YOG) in 2010.
While studying at St Joseph’s Institution (SJI), he won medals in cross-country running and the steeplechase.
His former coach at SJI, Mr G. Elangovan, 41, told The New Paper after yesterday’s hearing that Sumanthiran showed potential to become a national runner, but had “wasted his sporting talents”.
“His sporting talents could have led him to the podium. But gangsterism has led him to prison,” he said.
“If only he had channelled his aggression into sports and not into fighting. I hope he will turn over a new leaf.”
Describing his former student as a dedicated and competitive athlete, Mr Elangovan added: “He was self-driven and highly motivated.”
He said he was not aware that Sumanthiran was troubled because he always kept to himself and did not come across as a trouble-maker at the time.
“I feel very sad that he ended up like this. He had a bright future as a sportsman.”
In court yesterday, Sumanthiran’s lawyer, Mr Sunil Sudheesan, said his client had allowed one setback – not being chosen for the YOG in 2010 – to cause his “downward spiral”.
He said: “Our client was a youthful offender and who has now learnt a profound lesson from his foolish ways.”
This article was first published on March 2, 2016.
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