SINGAPORE – Upset that his estranged wife had rejected his attempts at reconciliation, a man threatened to kill his spouse in a murder-suicide act after abducting the woman and dousing her with petrol.
Murugan Nondoh, now 40, also told his close friend that he was not going to “let anyone have the victim since he cannot have her”.
Police arrested him at the Tuas Checkpoint and rescued his wife – Ms Krishnaveny Subramaniam, 40 – at around 11pm on July 2, 2019.
The Malaysian couple were on the way back to Johor Baru.
Ms Krishnaveny’s relative had earlier alerted the police to his plans.
Murugan, who appeared in a district court via video-link on Wednesday (Sept 22), pleaded guilty to multiple charges for offences including abduction, criminal intimidation and assault.
The court heard that the couple were married in 2007 and lived in Johor Baru.
The marriage soured and police learnt in their investigations that Murugan was physically abusive towards his wife.
He was also in debt because of his gambling habits.
In February 2019, Ms Krishnaveny told a friend that she felt lonely. She was then handed a man’s contact number so that she could make a new friend.
Ms Krishnaveny and the man started chatting but she did not meet him in person.
Murugan became unhappy when he found a text message on her phone in March that year and learnt that she had been communicating with another man.
He confronted his wife, who denied that she was having an affair.
Later that month, she moved into her mother’s home in Johor Baru and filed for divorce.
Murugan tried to reconcile with his wife but she refused to get back together with him.
In June that year, he found out from his sister that Ms Krishnaveny managed to secure a job in Singapore.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan said: “Hoping to meet the victim, the accused waited at the Malaysian checkpoint for about four hours on five to six days in June 2019.”
On June 25, 2019, he saw her at the Malaysian checkpoint.
“When the victim saw the accused, she told the accused not to come near her or she would shout for help. The victim attempted to run away.
“The accused chased after her, grabbed her bag and walked away,” said DPP Tan.
He searched her bag and found her work permit, stating that she was working in Woodlands for a company which deals with mechanical and chemical cleaning procedures.
He snapped a photo of the document and returned the bag to Ms Krishnaveny, after she told Malaysian police officers in the vicinity about the encounter.
After this incident, Murugan rode his motorcycle from Malaysia to his wife’s workplace on multiple occasions to look for her.
He even applied for a job there, the court heard.
On July 1, 2019, Ms Krishnaveny found out from a colleague that Murugan had been looking for her.
At around 6pm the next day, she was talking to her niece in Malaysia on the phone while walking out of her workplace when Murugan rode towards her from behind.
The DPP said: “The accused used his arm to grab her neck from behind. The victim struggled to break free and shouted for help while crying… She also dropped her handphone.”
The call was not disconnected and the niece heard the commotion between the couple. She then told her mother who alerted the police in Singapore.
Meanwhile, Murugan chased after Ms Krishnaveny on his motorcycle, grabbed the woman and pulled her towards him.
He also emptied a bottle of petrol on his wife and threatened to set her on fire if she refused to follow him. Out of fear, she got onto the motorcycle.
The pair rode away before Murugan alighted and assaulted her.
Over the next five hours, they rode around aimlessly before finally stopping at a cemetery near Nirvana Memorial Garden in Old Choa Chu Kang Rd.
Throughout the evening, he told his wife multiple times that he would burn her and kill himself afterwards.
DPP Tan told the court: “He then showed her the sari and dhoti that they wore at their wedding 12 years ago.
“The victim thought that the accused wanted both of them to wear their wedding outfits before burning her and himself as she had seen couples committing suicide in their wedding outfits in Tamil movies.”
Convinced that Murugan would kill her in the dark and deserted cemetery, Ms Krishnaveny told him to “just go ahead and burn her”.
Murugan then phoned a friend and asked the man to “bid farewell” to his friends on his behalf.
The prosecutor added: “After hanging up the call… the accused made the victim promise… that if he brought her back to (Johor Baru), she would not make any ‘problems’ for him, he would not get into trouble and she would reconcile with him.
“The victim also repeatedly assured him that he would not get into trouble.”
Murugan then agreed to take his wife back to Malaysia.
They were at the Tuas Checkpoint at around 11pm where they tried but failed to obtain clearance after scanning their passports and thumbprints.
Police officers arrived soon after to rescue Ms Krishnaveny and arrest Murugan.
She was taken to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital where she was diagnosed with bruises as well as petroleum product ingestion.
Murugan will be sentenced on Sept 29.
For abduction, an offender can be jailed for up to seven years and fined or caned or receive any combination of such punishments.
• National Care Hotline: 1800-202-6868 (8am – 12am)
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