Victim of fatal assault in Yishun kept wanting to meet one of his alleged assailants, court told

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

SINGAPORE - Before he was found dead at a Yishun HDB block, Mr Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues kept saying that he wanted to meet one of his two alleged assailants, a court heard on Thursday (Feb 13).

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 his death on July 9, 2016.

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

Tay allegedly stomped on Mr Rodrigues' shoulder, punched him in the 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 Lim were charged in 2018.

On Thursday, Dr Nisha Rani, clinical director and a psychotherapist at the Centre for Psychotherapy (CFP), told the court that she had been counselling Mr Rodrigues since April 2016.

She said Mr Rodrigues had been earlier ordered by the Community Court to attend counselling at the CFP after Tay's family filed a protection order against him.

He had allegedly been "surveilling and contacting" Tay and his family. Dr Rani did not know if the protection order was granted.

The court heard that he attended 10 sessions with Dr Rani, the last one on the day of his death.

She said Mr Rodrigues told her during the sessions that he had been trying to meet Tay at his flat.

Tay and Mr Rodrigues knew each other as they attended the same church.

Dr Rani said that she had advised Mr Rodrigues not to continue looking for Tay after he told her that he had been physically abused by Tay's family and friends when he tried to visit Tay at his home.

But Mr Rodrigues told her in the last counselling session on the day of his death that he had been going to the HDB block opposite Tay's home every day for the past five days.

She felt Mr Rodrigues was not "responding" to her counselling sessions.

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

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

The court heard that his mother, who accompanied him to IMH, told Dr Zachariah that as a child, Mr Rodrigues suffered a delay in speech development and had difficulty making friends in school.

Dr Zachariah was also told by both mother and son that he had a history of seizures, with the last one occurring in 2014, and he had been taking medication.

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 this.

She then referred him to the IMH clinic providing Adult Neurodevelopmental Services to determine if he had any mental health disorders.

The trial continues on Feb 17.

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