Prosecution seeks life term for man who killed elderly woman

P. Mageswaran, seen in a 2013 photo, was last month convicted of culpable homicide.
P. Mageswaran, seen in a 2013 photo, was last month convicted of culpable homicide.TNP FILE PHOTO
Madam Kanne Lactmy was killed in her Yishun Street 81 flat in 2013.
Madam Kanne Lactmy was killed in her Yishun Street 81 flat in 2013.LIANHE WANBAO FILE PHOTO

The prosecution is seeking a life term for a 50-year-old man who killed a grandmother he had known for a decade, after she caught him stealing her jewellery.

P. Mageswaran was convicted last month of culpable homicide for strangling and suffocating Madam Kanne Lactmy, 62, in her Yishun Street 81 flat in 2013.

Yesterday, prosecutors described the "cold-blooded" killing as the "pinnacle" of his "illustrious criminal career" of 22 years, arguing that the maximum of life imprisonment was appropriate to deter his recalcitrance.

Since 1991, when he was 24, Mageswaran has been in and out of jail for statutory rape for having sex with his underage girlfriend, theft and armed robbery.

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But Mageswaran's assigned lawyer, Mr Derek Kang, sought 12 years' jail, arguing that this was his client's first criminal activity involving actual violence.

Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng adjourned the case to July 20, asking the prosecution to submit more details of Mageswaran's past offences.

She also wanted further arguments on the prosecution's stand that Mageswaran, who turned 50 on May 22, should get an additional six months' jail as he cannot be caned.

The age limit for caning is 50.

 

A High Court panel of three judges ruled last month that it is not a must to impose extra jail time in lieu of caning.

Mageswaran used to work for Madam Lactmy's older son and was invited to family gatherings.

On Dec 9, 2013, Mageswaran, who lived in Johor Baru with his Malaysian wife, arrived at Madam Lactmy's flat at about 8.35am and asked to borrow $2,000 to $3,000. He needed RM5,000 (S$1,600) for an instalment payment on his new flat. She said she did not have so much money.

When she went to brush her teeth, Mageswaran searched the flat and found a box with jewellery and several pawnshop tickets. Madam Lactmy caught him and demanded that he return the box, but Mageswaran pleaded with her for it.

When she said she would call her son, Mageswaran pressed a pillow over her face with his right hand, while he choked her with his left.

He left with the box and later pawned the jewellery for RM26,300. He used the cash to pay for his flat, and also splurged on his wife and himself.

Eight days later, Mageswaran was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint while on his way back to Singapore.

Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng argued that the case fell under the "worst" type of culpable homicide cases and Mageswaran deserved life imprisonment.

Mr Kang argued that based on precedents, life imprisonment is typically reserved for offenders who are dangerous to society.

He said the incident stemmed from an attempt to borrow money gone wrong that eventually escalated into homicide.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 03, 2017, with the headline 'Prosecution seeks life term for man who killed elderly woman'. Print Edition | Subscribe