Yishun death: Victim had kept expressing desire to meet alleged assailant, court told

From left: Dr Susan Zachariah, who was a consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health from April 2016 to September last year, said she had assessed Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues two days before his death. She assessed him to have an obsess
From left: Dr Susan Zachariah, who was a consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health from April 2016 to September last year, said she had assessed Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues two days before his death. She assessed him to have an obsessive preoccupation with wanting to meet his friend, who he did not identify, as he kept telling her about it. Dr Zachariah testified yesterday at the trial of Mr Rodrigues' alleged assailants, Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong (wearing mask) and Lawrence Lim Peck Beng.

Before he was found dead in a Housing Board block in Yishun on July 9, 2016, Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues kept saying he wanted to meet one of his two alleged assailants, a court heard yesterday.

A psychiatrist and a psychotherapist, both of whom Mr Rodrigues, 26, had visited on separate occasions, revealed this while testifying at the trial of his alleged assailants Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong and Lawrence Lim Peck Beng.

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 the latter's death.

Both Tay and Lim live in a flat on the same floor of the block.

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 men were charged in 2018.

Yesterday, Dr Nisha Rani, clinical director and psychotherapist at the Centre for Psychotherapy, told the court that she had been counselling Mr Rodrigues since April 2016.

The court heard that he attended 10 sessions with Dr Rani, during which he told her that he had been trying to meet Tay at his flat.

Tay and Mr Rodrigues knew each other from church.

Dr Susan Zachariah, who was a consultant psychiatrist at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) from April 2016 to September last year, said she had assessed Mr Rodrigues two days before his death.

 
 
 

He had been referred to IMH by Yishun Polyclinic, which he earlier visited for psychiatric assessment.

Dr Zachariah assessed Mr Rodrigues to have an obsessive preoccupation with wanting to meet his friend, who he did not identify, as he kept telling her about it.

She then referred him to the IMH clinic providing adult neurodevelopmental services to determine if he had any mental health disorders.

On Tuesday, the court learnt that police officers found Mr Rodrigues lying face down, with his face bloodied and his right wrist tied behind his back with a string that was linked to his bound ankles - barely half an hour before paramedics pronounced him dead.

The strings used to tie him up were provided by Tay and Lim's neighbours, who testified on Wednesday.

One of them, Mr Lim Hock Piou, told the court that he assisted in tying up Mr Rodrigues.

Another neighbour, Mr Ur Kok Seng, said he had seen Mr Rodrigues loitering around the block and knocking on the door of Tay's flat.

Mr Ur claimed that Mr Rodrigues had previously assaulted his mother when she told him to stop knocking on the flat's door.

The trial continues next Monday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 14, 2020, with the headline 'Yishun death: Victim had kept expressing desire to meet alleged assailant, court told'. Print Edition | Subscribe