Man found dead in Yishun had been attacked by alleged assailants before, court told

Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong (left) and Lawrence Lim Peck Beng (right) are on trial for allegedly attacking Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues at Block 279 Yishun Street 22 on July 9, 2016. ST PHOTOS: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A man who had been found dead at a HDB block in Yishun in July 2016 had been previously attacked by his two alleged assailants, the court heard on Monday (Feb 17).

Despite these attacks, Mr Shawn Rodrigues, 26, continued to harass the family of his alleged assailants, Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong and Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, according to four statements made by both men to the police during investigations in 2016.

These statements were read out in court on Monday, during Tay and Lim's trial.

Tay, 24, is accused of causing grievous hurt to Mr Rodrigues on the sixth floor of Block 279 Yishun Street 22 on the day of his death. Both Tay and his stepfather, Lim, live in a flat on that floor.

Tay allegedly stomped on Mr Rodrigues' shoulder, punched his face and head multiple times, forcefully pushed his face to the ground and pressed his knee on his back for about 20 minutes.

This caused him to suffer traumatic asphyxia with a head injury that led to his death.

Lim, 58, is accused of aiding Tay by sitting on Mr Rodrigues' buttocks and holding his legs while Tay assaulted him.

Both Tay and Mr Rodrigues were from the same church.

According to Lim's statements, Mr Rodrigues had been harassing his family since 2014. Among other things, he had knocked repeatedly on the door of the family's flat and shouted that he wanted to see Tay on multiple occasions.

The court had earlier heard that Mr Rodrigues was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health in 2016 to have an obsessive preoccupation with wanting to meet Tay.

Lim said that his wife, who is Tay's mother, had made a police report in 2016 that Mr Rodrigues had molested her.

He also told the police that he saw Mr Rodrigues assaulting his elderly neighbour that same year.

The court learnt that Lim's family lodged over 50 police reports and brought a Magistrate's Complaint over Mr Rodrigues' actions. The latter resulted in mediation proceedings between the family and Mr Rodrigues, which were still ongoing at the time of his death.

The family also raised the matter to their Member of Parliament (MP), Lim said. He did not mention who the MP was.

He also told the police that he had sprayed insecticide on Mr Rodrigues' face in early 2016, after Mr Rodrigues knocked on his door continuously for about a minute. Mr Rodrigues did not react and left shortly after.

Tay said in his statements that he assaulted Mr Rodrigues on three occasions in 2015, where the latter had repeatedly confronted him near his flat. Mr Rodrigues had grabbed Tay's hand on two of these occasions.

Tay also said that he saw Lim speaking to Mr Rodrigues at the door of his home in the evening on the fateful day.

When Mr Rodrigues fled down the common corridor of the block after spotting him, he gave chase barefooted.

He caught up with Mr Rodrigues near the staircase at the end of the corridor. A scuffle ensued between both men, and Tay eventually ended up pinning Mr Rodrigues face-down with his right knee at the staircase landing.

He also tore a notebook that Mr Rodrigues was carrying and threw it down the stairs, he said.

When Mr Rodrigues started to struggle, Tay pushed his head down towards the floor.

He eventually relinquished his position on Mr Rodrigues when the police arrived.

The trial continues on Feb 24.

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