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Husband of maid abuser is interdicted police officer, also facing charges

SINGAPORE — Kevin Chelvam, the husband of Gaiyathiri Murugayan, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Feb 23) to violently abusing the couple’s 24-year-old domestic worker from Myanmar until she died, is a staff sergeant of police who has been suspended from service since Aug 8, 2016.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan (left) pleaded guilty to 28 charges that included culpable homicide not amounting to murder, wrongful restraint and causing hurt or grievous hurt to her domestic worker.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan (left) pleaded guilty to 28 charges that included culpable homicide not amounting to murder, wrongful restraint and causing hurt or grievous hurt to her domestic worker.

SINGAPORE — Kevin Chelvam, the husband of Gaiyathiri Murugayan, who pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Feb 23) to violently abusing the couple’s 24-year-old domestic worker from Myanmar until she died, is a staff sergeant of police who has been suspended from service since Aug 8, 2016.

Confirming this continued interdiction in a statement on Wednesday, the police also said: “He was charged in court on Aug 11, 2016 and faces multiple charges in connection with the case involving his domestic helper, Ms Piang Ngaih Don. As the court case is ongoing, we are unable to comment further.” 

The five charges faced by Chelvam, 42, include voluntarily causing hurt to Piang — he lifted her off the ground by grabbing her hair — giving false information to a police investigator and removing evidence in the form of a closed-circuit television (CCTV) system. 

The police added that officers of the Singapore Police Force are expected to uphold the law and set a good example by maintaining high standards of discipline and integrity. 

“The Singapore Police Force deals with officers who break the law severely, including charging them in court.”

The CCTV cameras in the couple’s flat captured Gaiyathiri repeatedly abusing Piang over nine months. 

Chelvam had allegedly removed evidence from the CCTV digital video recorder system installed in the flat at Block 145 Bishan Street 11, and purportedly lied to investigators that their tenants had asked for that to be done six months earlier.

While working for the family, Piang was deprived of food and water, losing 15kg in the process. She weighed just 24kg when she died on July 26 in 2016. 

Gaiyathiri had rained blows on the worker and Gaiyathiri’s mother Prema S Naraynasamy allegedly punched the worker’s neck and choked her. They tied her hands to a window grille as they occasionally did, leaving her in the bedroom.

Gaiyathiri and Chelvam later found Piang motionless. They called a doctor, who discovered that she was already dead at the scene.

On Tuesday in the High Court, Gaiyathiri, 40, pleaded guilty to 28 charges. These included culpable homicide not amounting to murder, wrongful restraint and causing hurt or grievous hurt to Piang.

Justice See Kee Oon will consider another 87 similar charges for sentencing at a later date.

The prosecution said that the case was “especially heinous and especially horrific” and is seeking life imprisonment for Gaiyathiri.

An autopsy uncovered 31 recent scars and 47 external injuries scattered all over Piang’s body. Her hyoid bone — a U-shaped bone in the neck that supports the tongue — was also fractured, most likely from Gaiyathiri holding her by the neck and shaking her like a rag doll, a forensic pathologist found.

The court case for Gaiyathiri's mother Prema, 61, is pending. She faces a total of 49 charges.

Related topics

foreign domestic worker maid abuse assault death crime court

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