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February 28, 2003

Knock on car window leads to murder...

From: Straits Times, Singapore - 28 Feb 2003
   By Alethea Lim

Tan's defence that he was provoked by Mr Krishnan's shove was dismissed. The judge said a shove, 'no matter how violent or unrestrained', couldn't justify murder.

DEAF MUTE BASHED TO DEATH: Mr Krishnan had just ordered a birthday present for his daughter when he was killed. He had met his wife, also a deaf mute, in the school for the deaf

MR KRISHNAN Sengal Raju, a deaf mute, had just ordered a birthday present for his daughter when he was bashed to death by a stranger.

Crane operator Tan Chun Seng, 28, was angry that a person accompanying Mr Krishnan had hit the window of his car and gestured to him to get out.

The seemingly trivial incident led to Tan bludgeoning the 44-year-old general worker to death with a wooden pole on the night of June 30, 2001, on Dunlop Street in Little India.

Tan will hang for the murder.

Pronouncing the death sentence in the High Court yesterday, Justice Choo Han Teck did not accept Tan's defence that he was provoked because Mr Krishnan pushed him.

A shove or push, 'no matter how violent or unrestrained', could not justify murder, said the judge.

On the night of the murder, Tan wanted to confront Mr Krishnan's friend but he lost sight of him as the two went their separate ways.

ASSAILANT TO BE HANGED: Tan's defence that he was provoked by Mr Krishnan's shove was dismissed. The judge said a shove, "no matter how violent or unrestrained", couldn't justify the murder.

He went after Mr Krishnan, verbally abused him and attacked him from behind.

Yesterday, two of Mr Krishnan's brothers and his 15-year-old son, Naresh, were in court when the verdict was handed down.

His younger brother, Mr Selvaraju, 36, told The Straits Times: 'We are sorry that the murderer will hang. But my brother was not a trouble-maker. He didn't deserve to be beaten up like that.'

The businessman said his brother was a friendly man and a cycling enthusiast, who loved to cycle around the island.

Mr Krishnan studied at the Singapore Association for the Deaf for a short while but did not complete his studies.

He worked as an odd-job worker until he landed a job at Diethlem Singapore, his employer for the last five years.

Mr Selvaraju said his older brother had been a hardworking man who never neglected his family.

At the time he was murdered, he had a receipt on him from the jewellery shop where he had placed an order for his daughter's 16th birthday present.

Mr Krishnan had also been very 'protective' of his younger siblings when they were young.

Mr Selvaraju recalled that when he was bullied in school, Mr Krishnan would take down the IC numbers of his tormentors and told them to stop if they did not want trouble with the police.

'He never resorted to violence. He used a simple but effective method.

'The bullies never created trouble for me again,' he said.

He and his eight siblings now give his late brother's family financial and emotional support.

Naresh said that it is his housewife mother, Madam Singaram Neelachi, 46, also a deaf mute, who has had the most difficulty coming to terms with his father's death.

The couple met when they were in the school for the deaf and married in 1984.

'She doesn't want to go out and prefers to be by herself. She doesn't cry in front of us but I know, in her heart, she does,' said Naresh.

He added that his mother is asthmatic and the trauma of his father's death has worsened her condition.

The boy too, feels the void.

'Till today, I still feel his touch on me that morning he left for work. I was sleeping when he tapped me on my shoulder, gesturing that he would be back at 10 pm. But he never did return.

'He was very caring and would always spend time with me and my sister even though he worked hard. We all miss him,' said the bespectacled Secondary 3 student from Gan Eng Seng Secondary.

Naresh and his 17-year-old sister, a Secondary 5 student in Queensway Secondary, learnt sign language from their parents when they were very young so that they could communicate.

'He always told us we must study hard to make a mark for ourselves.

'My sister is doing well in school. If my father were around, he would have been so proud,' said Naresh.

© 2003 Straits Times