Man found dead at Bukit Batok church

Man found dead at Bukit Batok church

It was well past midnight when she heard the wailing.

It came from the church across her block, waking Madam Zhang Hui Min.

"She sounded miserable," said the housewife, who lives on the 18th storey of Block 287, Bukit Batok East Avenue 3.

Curious, she looked out her of window and saw two police cars at the church.

She later learnt that a man had been found dead at the Church of St Mary of the Angels that night.

Police said they were alerted at 10.31pm on Saturday and found a man lying motionless in the church compound along Bukit Batok East Avenue 2 when they arrived.

The 39-year-old man was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

NO VISIBLE INJURIES

A spokesman for the Singapore Civil Defence Force said the man had no visible injuries.

Another resident of Block 287, who wanted to be known only as Mr Lee, said the police had cordoned off the forecourt of the church and an adjacent lawn.

The student, who lives on the 22nd storey, said he saw a family in the compound.

"A woman from the family kept on screaming and crying," said Mr Lee, 22.

He said she only quietened down after about 30 minutes.

Mr Steven Wong, 59, a member of the church, told The New Paper that the parish priest had mentioned the death during a sermon on Sunday. "The tallest building is three storeys high, so his death was very puzzling to me," said Mr Wong, a manager.

Parish priest, Father Clifford Augustine, 48, told TNP that the night clerk had found the body at about 10pm and called the police.

The man, Mr Palani Rajamoorthi, is believed to be non-Catholic and was not part of the congregation.

Mr Palani's brother told Chinese newspaper Shin Min Daily News that his brother, an ex-policeman, had an argument with another man on Friday and returned to confront him the next day.

But he suffered a heart attack and died on the spot, the 36-year-old was quoted as saying.

Mr Palani's father told Shin Min Daily News that he saw a beer bottle next to his son's body when he arrived at the scene. He is believed to have been drinking before his death.

The police have classified the case as unnatural death. This is not the first time a body has been found at the Bukit Batok East church.

In January 2011, a man was found dead at a grass patch near a row of classrooms and a children's playground in the church.

The 39-year-old was believed to have been hit with a blunt object and had injuries to his head and face. He was suffering from mental illness and had been visiting the church about three months before his death. He was not believed to be a member of the church.

yufengk@sph.com.sg

This article was published on May 13 in The New Paper.

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