GEORGE TOWN - His eye is better now but it does not ease the pang in his heart.
T. Previin found out his best friend T. Nhaveen was gone only after his remains were cremated.
Previin, 19, was being wheeled out after a successful operation and still sedated when Nhaveen breathed his last on Thursday.
"On Friday night, he kept wanting us to take him to Nhaveen, thinking he was still in the Penang Hospital intensive care unit.
"When we finally told him, Previin cried nonstop," his mother K. Kalyani, 59, said at the hospital yesterday.
"He won't eat and can't stop crying," said Kalyani, fighting back tears.
Previin is believed to be the only witness to the beating Nhaveen suffered, which caused him to lapse into a coma.
He died without regaining consciousness from blunt force trauma to the head.
Previin himself was also bashed in the head and suffered a fracture beneath his right eye, but managed to run away from his attackers.
At midnight on June 10, both buddies went to a burger stall in Gelugor for a snack and were set upon by a gang of youths, whom Previin identified as their ex-schoolmates.
They finished Form Five last year. Previin said Nhaveen had often complained about being bullied at school by them.
Previin's uncle M.G.R. Devan said Previin would be discharged in a few days.
"But we fear for Previin's safety as he is the only witness.
"We will request for police protection when he is discharged," said Devan.
Police have arrested five suspects and re-classified the case as murder.
Malaysian Crime Prevention Foundation Penang chapter vice-chairman Datuk K.R. Pulayantran visited Previin yesterday and pledged to conduct awareness campaigns on bullying in schools.
Nhaveen, 18, died five days after he was savagely beaten with crash helmets, allegedly by the suspects.
He was found unconscious with serious injuries and burns on his back. A blunt object had been shoved into his anus.