Man whose punch killed American stuntman during Boat Quay rampage jailed 10 years

Stuntman John Denley Nelson fell and hit his head on the kerb after he was punched by Muhammad Khalis Ramlee.
Stuntman John Denley Nelson fell and hit his head on the kerb after he was punched by Muhammad Khalis Ramlee.PHOTO: JOHN DENLEY NELSON FUND/GOFUNDME

SINGAPORE - A restaurant server who was part of a group that went on a Christmas Eve rampage in 2015 was sentenced to 10 years' jail and 24 strokes of the cane on Friday (Nov 17) after punching a stuntman who later died.

The group of 15 had gone on a violent spree around the Boat Quay area after midnight, attacking strangers at will.

It ended at 3am when Muhammad Khalis Ramlee, 25, punched Mr John Denley Nelson, 30, in the head after the American intervened when Khalis' friends were seen bothering a woman.

Khalis, who was a secret society member like several others in the group, pleaded guilty to two related counts of rioting on Friday. He also admitted to consuming methamphetamine after the drug was detected in his urine in January last year.

The court heard that after Khalis punched Mr Nelson, the American landed heavily and hit his head on the kerb. The stuntman at Universal Studios Singapore suffered serious head injuries and died on Jan 1, last year.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Goh Yi Ling said in her submissions: "(An eyewitness) described (the blow) as a lunging punch, where the accused had taken two very big steps with full force and full weight behind the punch."

 
 
 
 

Khalis was earlier accused of murder, a capital charge, but it was later reduced to assault. District Judge Tan Jen Tse found Khalis guilty of causing grievous hurt on Nov 1, following a four-day trial.

The rampage started three hours before Mr Nelson was attacked after a drinking session at the Beer Inn in Circular Road.

At about midnight, several of Khalis' friends got into a dispute with each other and it turned to a shoving match outside the pub.

When they realised the fracas had attracted the attention of curious onlookers, the group went after the strangers. Two men were first assaulted repeatedly and when others intervened to stop the fight, Khalis and his friends attacked them as well.

Although Mr Nelson was not involved in any of the brawls, he saw two of Khalis' friends hassling a woman along Circular Road at 3am and decided to intervene.

When Mr Nelson tried to mediate, Khalis lunged at him from behind.

Most of the 15 involved in the rampage that night have been dealt with.

For causing grievous hurt, Khalis could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

And for each count of rioting, he could have been jailed for up to seven years and caned.