His niece had called him for help. Her mother was missing, she said.
So Mr Daniel Jesudason went to their flat at Bukit Batok East. After a search of the estate turned up nothing, he returned to the flat.
What he found there shocked him: A pair of legs sticking out from a suitcase under the bed of his nephew, Sujay Solomon Sutherson.
Sujay, now 34, who has a history of mental illness, is accused of killing his mother, Madam Mallika Jesudasan, 56, on May 27, 2012.
Yesterday, on the first day of Sujay's trial for culpable homicide, Mr Daniel told the High Court how he came across the grisly find.
His sister, a public relations coordinator and a divorcee, was last seen alive at her Bukit Batok East flat at about 6.35pm but was missing by the time her youngest son, Mr Sunil Sutherson, returned home around 10.40pm.
Her daughter, Ms Sheena Sutherson, had called him for help to locate her mother.
Mr Daniel testified that when he reached the flat, he noticed that his sister's bedroom floor was wet. He also saw pieces of burnt fabric and paper.
Said Mr Daniel, a managing director of a psychiatric clinic: "I then sat down together with him (Sujay)... I noticed that there was blood on the accused's right hand."
When he asked his nephew for Madam Mallika's whereabouts, Sujay said he last saw his mother at the void deck after allegedly passing her the food he had bought.
Her mobile phone was turned off.
Together with Ms Sheena and Mr Sunil, he then left to search the estate.
Upon returning to the flat, Mr Daniel said he noticed "a strong detergent odour" on one of the rags found in the toilet.
In his testimony, which was read in court by Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Kumaresan Gohulabalan, Mr Daniel said he spotted a suitcase under Sujay's bed. He pulled it out and, to his shock, saw a pair of legs.
"I was shocked and told the accused that this was not what he should have done. I asked (Sujay) if my sister was still alive and he replied 'No'," he added.
Sujay, who was not represented, was emotionless as witnesses' testimonies were read by Mr Kumaresan.
The DPP told the court that the accused had allegedly stabbed his mother in the neck with two knives and slit her throat with a third.
It was also alleged that Sujay attempted to dispose of her body after burning it. Madam Mallika's death was attributed to haemorrhaging due to three stab wounds on the neck.
At the time of the offence, Sujay was suffering from paranoid schizophrenia. His history of mental illness was verified by Mr Sunil, who said he had seen his brother "flushing away pills or throwing them into the rubbish chute".
Mr Sunil recounted: "Sometime in the years of 2010 and 2011, I noticed the accused would start talking and laughing to himself... He would sometimes pretend to use his shoulder to charge at an imaginary individual."
When Mr Sunil returned home that night, he found it strange that his brother was cleaning the house.
On the dining table, Mr Sunil saw an empty vodka bottle, a knife and a stove lighter.
He had also noticed that two boxes had been moved from their original storage place under Sujay's bed.
Mr Sunil, Ms Sheena and Mr Daniel searched the estate for Madam Mallika without success.
All hell broke loose when Mr Daniel told Mr Sunil to call the police after Madam Mallika's body was discovered.
Sujay rushed out of his bedroom and allegedly bolted the front door. He then went for Mr Sunil, who was trying to get the cops on his mobile phone.
As a distraction, Mr Daniel pulled Sujay away from Mr Sunil but ended up on the kitchen floor with Sujay.
Added Mr Daniel: "At one point during the scuffle, I saw the accused trying to pull open one of the drawers of the kitchen cabinet. I tried to stop him... as I was worried that he was trying to grab a knife."
Somehow, Sujay managed to calm down, but not before demanding his siblings surrender their mobile phones.
Chaos erupted once again when Mr Daniel's mobile phone rang and he managed to inform the caller, his wife, to call the police.
During the commotion, Mr Sunil fled and ran to a nearby police post. Unknown to Sujay, Sheena, who locked herself in a bedroom, had managed to call the police.
Sujay was arrested at the flat.
If found guilty, he faces a jail term of up to 20 years. The hearing continues today.
This article was first published on July 7, 2015.
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