Lunchtime patrons in the busy Shenton Way area watched in horror as a fatal stabbing unfolded in broad daylight yesterday.
As the victim lay bleeding face down on the ground in front of the A Poke Theory eatery, his alleged attacker - a 69-year-old man - made a telephone call.
Mr Vinnie Ang, who works at the Boon Tat Street eatery, told The Straits Times: "The man said in a mix of English and dialect: 'I couldn't sleep at night. I have already stabbed him. Don't cry. I am old already and I am not afraid to go to jail. What is done is done.'"
Mr Ang added that a woman was standing near him, crying loudly.
He said that as he tried to help the victim, the older man pushed him away, saying: "That is my son-in- law. Don't help him. Let him die."
The Straits Times understands that the victim is Mr Spencer Tuppani Shamlal Tuppani, 38. Records show that Mr Tuppani previously registered two marriages in July 2004 and February 2000.
The older man allegedly stabbed Mr Tuppani, former director of shipping company TNS Ocean Lines, at at about 1pm at nearby coffee shop Eden Garden Cafe located at the junction of Telok Ayer Street and Boon Tat Street.
An eyewitness who gave his name only as Simon told ST that he saw a man running past with his T-shirt covered in blood. "He was just shouting,'Call police, police'. He looked scared. It was unreal, like something out of a movie," said the 31-year-old, who works in finance.
Mr Tuppani then ran to the eatery about 70m away from the coffee shop.
Ms E. Loo, a 29-year-old assistant manager at A Poke Theory, said she called the police after a customer rushed into the shop to alert her.
"The attacker was just standing there, with the knife still in his hands, just looking at the man on the ground. He was very calm, it was so scary," she said.
She described the knife as about 10cm long and "very sharp".
The eatery's manager Eldad Tan, 28, said he quickly locked the front door and told customers to move to the back.
"There was a lot of blood and I knew it was something serious. We didn't know what the man (with the knife) would do next," he said.
The police said they received a call for assistance at 1.22pm at 27, Boon Tat Street, and found a 38- year-old man lying motionless.
He was taken unconscious to the Singapore General Hospital, where he was subsequently pronounced dead at 2.13pm, said the statement.
Customer service executive Zoe Tan, 26, said she saw police officers taking the suspect away.
"He was very neatly dressed. He was very calm and looked like he was prepared for the police to come and arrest him," Ms Tan added.
When ST visited Mr Tuppani's Sennett Lane home last night, a man who came to the door would say only that "now is not a good time because the family is very unstable".
The police have since classified the case as murder, and a 69-year- old man is expected to be charged in court on Wednesday.
•Additional Reporting by Toh Wen Li and Lydia Lam