Man accused of strangling and suffocating godmother to death

He allegedly held a pillow to his godmother's face until she stopped struggling.

The reason: The victim, Madam Kanne Lactmy, 62, had caught him stealing her jewellery.

She was later found by a neighbour's domestic helper and then pronounced dead by paramedics.

These shocking details were part of the prosecution's opening statement read out at P. Mageswaran's culpable homicide trial yesterday.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Wong Kok Weng said Mageswaran, 49, used to work for Madam Lactmy's son and would join their family at functions.

In December 2013, Mageswaran needed money to pay for a new flat in Johor, Malaysia, that his wife had bought, said DPP Wong.

On Dec 9, Mageswaran allegedly asked his wife for the flat's supporting documents and claimed he was going to convince his employer to lend him money to pay the RM5,000 (S$1,600) deposit.

Madam Kanne Lactmy with her daughters and grandchildren. Photo: The New Paper

Instead of going to his employer here, he headed to Madam Lactmy's Yishun Street 81 flat, said DPP Wong.

Surveillance footage from the void deck showed Mageswaran arriving at the block at about 8.35am.

He was invited in by Madam Lactmy.

Mageswaran claimed that he asked to borrow $2,000 to $3,000, but she replied she did not have that much money, said DPP Wong.

She then went to the toilet to brush her teeth.

Mageswaran then entered the master bedroom and forced open a wardrobe where he found a box of jewellery and pawn shop tickets.


Madam Lactmy walked in and saw what her godson was doing, said DPP Wong.

She demanded he return the jewellery, but he pleaded with her to let him take them, said DPP Wong.

Madam Kanne Lactmy was found lying on the floor of her four-room flat at Block 875, Yishun Street 81, on Dec 9, 2013 and was pronounced dead in Khoo Teck Puat Hospital at about 1.30pm. Photo: The New Paper

When Madam Lactmy said she would call her son, Mageswaran pushed her to the ground.

He took a pillow and pressed it against her face using one hand, and choked her neck with his other hand for three to four minutes, the prosecution claimed.

He eventually released his grip on her neck but continued pressing the pillow against her face for another six to seven minutes, until she stopped struggling, DPP Wong said.

He left the flat with the jewellery and was again caught on surveillance footage - this time using his hands to shield his face - at about 9.35am, said DPP Wong.

Around noon, a neighbour's domestic helper found Madam Lactmy lying on the bedroom floor.

Paramedics later found Madam Lactmy had no pulse and was not breathing.

They rushed her to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where she was pronounced dead at 1.30pm.

An autopsy found that she died from manual strangulation.

Meanwhile, Mageswaran returned to his Johor home, pawned the stolen jewellery for RM26,300 and threw the pawn tickets away, said DPP Wong.

Yesterday, consultant forensic pathologist Marian Wang of the Health Sciences Authority took the stand and said Madam Lactmy was found with multiple bruises and fractures to her neck.

Dr Wang said the amount of force needed to cause the neck injuries was significant and severe.

The trial continues today.

If convicted of culpable homicide, Mageswaran faces life imprisonment and caning, or up to 20 years' jail, caning or a fine.

This article was first published on November 23, 2016.
Get The New Paper for more stories.