Spurned man on trial for 'vicious' knife attack

Healthcare assistant Varadharajan Mahadevan Mahadevan, 30, repeatedly stabbed and slashed a 20-year-old student nurse on Dec 20, 2013.
Healthcare assistant Varadharajan Mahadevan Mahadevan, 30, repeatedly stabbed and slashed a 20-year-old student nurse on Dec 20, 2013.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

Accused was rebuffed by woman's adoptive parents when he demanded to wed her

Harassed by an unwanted suitor, a student nurse was advised by her father to make a police report.

She declined, saying she did not want to "spoil the rice bowl" of the Indian national, who had come to Singapore to work to support his family, her father told the High Court yesterday.

On Dec 20, 2013, the 20-year-old was repeatedly stabbed and slashed on the face, neck, body and arms allegedly by healthcare assistant Varadharajan Mahadevan Mahadevan, 30, at the void deck of her Jurong West flat as she was on her way to school, leaving her permanently scarred.

The attack, described by prosecutors as "relentless and vicious", took place a day after Varadharajan was rebuffed by the victim's adoptive parents when he turned up at their flat demanding her hand in marriage.

Details of the attack emerged on the first day of Varadharajan's trial for attempted murder. He faces life imprisonment or up to 20 years' jail and caning or a fine or both, if convicted.

In court, Varadharajan, now 33, insisted the victim was his "former girlfriend".

The attack, described by prosecutors as "relentless and vicious", took place a day after Varadharajan was rebuffed by the victim's adoptive parents when he turned up at their flat demanding her hand in marriage.

"I have no intention to kill her," he said repeatedly through an interpreter. He claimed he had inflicted the injuries on her while attempting suicide.

The victim, now 23, and her family cannot be named due to a gag order. Her parents were emotional as they took the stand to recount how they had rushed down from their flat on hearing her screams and saw her lying on the ground covered in blood, as a knife-wielding Varadharajan sat on top of her.

"Everywhere was bleeding. It was terrible, I can't describe it," said her mother, 55.

The victim's father, 59, said: "He was raising his hand with the knife. The moment I saw him, I pushed him down. The knife dropped."

After a brief struggle, Varadharajan fled.

Both parents talked about how the ordeal has affected their daughter. She still sleeps with them and would wake up screaming in the middle of the night. She is afraid to go out because of the scars and would start crying while having dinner, they said.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh told the court that Varadharajan got to know the victim when she was attached to the hospital where he worked, and became obsessed with her.

She initially played along with him but later told him she treated him only as a friend. Varadharajan refused to accept the rejection and continued to "aggressively harass" her, said the DPP.

Varadharajan went to her flat at least twice to ask for her hand in marriage. When she blocked his phone number, he used another number to contact her.

On Dec 19, 2013, Varadharajan again went to propose marriage. He became aggressive after her parents said no but eventually left. He went home, hid a knife in his sock and returned to her block, sleeping at the void deck to wait for her.

At about 8.30am the next day, he confronted her and demanded that they have a talk. When she refused, the court heard, he stabbed her. She tried to push him away but was stabbed again. After she fell to the ground, he continued stabbing and slashing her, the court was told.

The police received 15 calls to report the attack. Varadharajan was detained by two passers-by. After his arrest, he admitted he intended to kill her, said the DPP.

Varadharajan's lawyer, Mr Rengarajoo Rengasamy Balasamy, asserted that the victim had "pestered" his client to marry her in India because of her "poor relationship" with her adoptive parents.

The victim's mother disagreed.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 01, 2017, with the headline 'Spurned man on trial for 'vicious' knife attack'. Print Edition | Subscribe