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Man who killed 64-year-old praying in park jailed 16 years

SINGAPORE — After a night of drinking, Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was on his way home when he saw a man in his 60s praying at a park in Ang Mo Kio.

Man who killed 64-year-old praying in park jailed 16 years

Sumanthiran s/o Selvarajoo was a promising track-and-field athlete. Photo: Singapore Police Force

SINGAPORE — After a night of drinking, Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was on his way home when he saw a man in his 60s praying at a park in Ang Mo Kio.

This inexplicably angered the then 18-year-old, who punched Loo Nam Sheng repeatedly in the face until he collapsed and died.

On Tuesday (March 1), the High Court sentenced Sumanthiran, now 23, to 16 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane for culpable homicide not amounting to murder and three other charges of voluntarily causing hurt or causing grievous hurt.

In delivering his decision, Justice Woo Bih Li said Sumanthiran was an “unusual person ... (with a) violent temperament” and that his “risk of future violence” remains. The court heard that Sumanthiran had a history of assault offences and was out on bail when he attacked Loo, 64. 

But the judge noted that Sumanthiran had surrendered, and took into account his young age and his “promise of a brighter future”.

On June 4, 2011, Sumanthiran, who had been out drinking for hours, was walking home along a park in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 6 sometime after 5am. He was angry that his eldest brother had tried to contact him that night to check on him. One of Sumanthiran’s bail conditions was that he was to stay indoors from 6pm to 7am.

When he saw Loo chanting Buddhist prayers in the park, Sumanthiran attacked the victim and challenged him to make Buddha appear before them. He also used an umbrella that he found nearby to strike Loo on his shin. 

Sumanthiran later called the cops.

On Tuesday, deputy public prosecutor Ang Feng Qian urged the court to impose a total sentence of between 18 and 19 years’ jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

The prosecutor said “it would be necessary to keep the accused out of circulation for a substantial period of time for the protection of the public”. She noted Sumanthiran’s string of offences in five months in 2010 — including slashing victims with a parang and breadknife, punching and kicking victims — and risk of future violence.

In mitigation, defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said his client had had a “bad year” after failing to make it to the Youth Olympics Games team, as he was in contention to join the national track and field team.

Arguing for a total sentence of around 10 years’ jail, the lawyer added that Sumanthiran is a changed person.

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