Jail, cane for construction worker who slashed dormitory mate's neck with chopper

SINGAPORE - Unhappy with his dormitory mate who had told him to clean up his own vomit, a construction worker repeatedly slashed the man's neck and chest with a chopper.

Arunachalam Manikandan, 20, was sentenced to 3½ years' jail and six strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty on Wednesday (Dec 6) to grievously hurting Mr Ganesan Arunprakash with the weapon.

The two Indian nationals were in their dormitory at the Sungei Tengah Lodge in Old Choa Chu Kang Road at around midnight on March 21 when a drunk Arunachalam threw up on the floor.

Mr Ganesan, 21, who is also a construction worker, asked him to clean up the mess. The two men quarrelled when Arunachalam refused to do so.

Their supervisor, who heard the commotion, intervened and told Arunachalam to clean up his vomit.

He started fuming while sitting on his bed as he felt that Mr Ganesan had bossed him around in front of others in the room.

The court heard that the two men had clashed with each other in the past. An angry Anunachalam retrieved a chopper with a 19.5cm-long blade to attack Mr Ganesan, who was lying on his own bed.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Nim said: "At that time, the lights in the room were turned off. Without warning, the accused aimed for the victim's neck and began slashing and chopping him continuously with the chopper."

Mr Ganesan's cries woke up their roommates, who disarmed Arunachalam.

Mr Ganesan was taken to the National University Hospital with wounds on his neck and chest.

DPP Nim said that one in particular was near his windpipe and he could have died without surgical intervention. Mr Ganesan was discharged the next day and was given hospitalisation leave until April 7.

Lawyer Sujatha Selvakumar, who was assigned to represent Arunachalam under the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, urged District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim to sentence her client to a maximum of 2½ years' jail.

She said that a now-remorseful Arunachalam had "reacted in youthful folly".

For causing grievous hurt with the chopper, he could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined or caned.