Youth who beat up people, including retiree who died, gets 16 years' jail, 12 strokes of the cane

Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was sentenced to 16 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, causing grievous hurt, causing hurt and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.
Sumanthiran Selvarajoo was sentenced to 16 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, causing grievous hurt, causing hurt and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - Fuelled by alcohol, a teenager went on a series of violent and unprovoked attacks in 2010 and 2011, culminating in the death of a retiree, whom he beat up because he felt irritated when he saw the 64-year-old praying at an Ang Mo Kio park.

Sumanthiran Selvarajoo, now 22, was on Tuesday (March 1) sentenced to 16 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to culpable homicide, causing grievous hurt, causing hurt and causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.

He was between 17 and 18 years old when he carried out the four attacks, all in the Ang Mo Kio area, between June 2010 and June 2011. Except in one case, in which his father turned him in, he gave himself up to the police after each assault.

In sentencing him, Justice Woo Bih Li said: "You are a very unusual person. You have a volatile and violent temperament which causes you to injure others without valid reasons. Yet you know your conduct is wrong."

The judge took into account his young age and that he surrendered himself, but noted that his risk of future violence was high.

The court heard that Sumanthiran had spent the night drinking with friends and was on his way home when he chanced across Mr Loo Nam Seng in the early hours of June 4 in 2011.

He confronted Mr Loo, who was standing by a tree chanting prayers, and asked what he was doing. When Mr Loo replied that he was praying, Sumanthiran demanded to know to whom he was praying.

Mr Loo's reply of "Buddha" angered him. Without warning, Sumanthiran punched the retiree in the face and challenged him to make Buddha appear before him. He continued to assault Mr Loo and challenged him to get Buddha to save him.

Sumanthiran then called both the police and the civil defence, using abusive language to the phone operators to get them to help his victim, who died at the scene from severe facial injuries. He then walked towards the Ang Mo Kio police headquarters to surrender.

The court heard that when he attacked Mr Loo, Sumanthiran was on bail after being charged with slashing a 45-year-old man with a parang, beating up a 20-year-old who had a feud with his cousin, and slashing a 17-year-old with a bread knife.

His lawyer Sunil Sudheesan told the court that his client, a school athlete, was depressed after he failed to make the cut for the Youth Olympic Games in April 2010 and was also gradually losing faith in God and religion.

selinal@sph.com.sg