Court enhances jail term for man who killed in-law with cooking oil and curry

PUTRAJAYA – An Indian national, who had pleaded guilty of causing the death of his brother-in-law, had his 11-year jail sentence extended to 18 years. A Court of Appeal three-member panel, consisting of Datuk Hasan Lah, Datuk Sulong Matjeraie and Datuk Sulaiman Daud, unanimously allowed the prosecution’s appeal to extend M. Murugesan’s sentence earlier this week.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Munahyza Mustafa appealed to the panel to increase the 11-year jail term handed down by the Shah Alam High Court on 1 Aug 2008, to Murugesan after he pleaded guilty to an amended charge of culpable homicide notamounting to the murder of G.Subramaniam.

She said the jail term was inadequate and a heavier sentence needed to be imposed when taking into consideration public interest. Murugesan committed the offence in Jalan Kampung Jawa, Batu 3 1/2 in Klangat 3am on 23 Feb  2006. On that day, an argument erupted between the two men, who came from India to work as barbers, over how they should deal with the problems they were facingwith their employer.

Murugesan had earlier gone to see the victim at his home to discuss the matter. However, the discussion took a violent turn after Subramaniam beat Murugesan, injuring him on his leg and eye. Murugesan left the house to get medical treatment but returned to the house quietly a few hours later.

Murugesan then filled a frying pan with cooking oil, heated it, and poured it over Subramaniam, who was sleeping at the time.  Subramaniam woke up and attempted to grab Murugesan, who then hit him (Subramaniam) on the head with a frying pan and threw curry powder into his face.

Subramaniam was admitted to the hospital with 80 percent burns on his body. He died a week later from septicaemia caused by the severe burns. An autopsy report showed that the victim sustained burn injuries on his face, chest, front abdominal region, shoulders, arms and hands.

Murugesan, who was unrepresented, pleaded for leniency in court today, saying that he did not intend to kill the victim. He also claimed that the victim had earlier used a knife to injure him. As part of his plea, he said that he had been drunk on the day of the attack and that he came from a poor family.