Singapore

Man, 36, jailed for life for brutal murder of Singaporean woman

Man, 36, jailed for life for Brisbane murder of Singaporean woman he suspected of cheating on him

When he suspected his prospective wife of cheating on him, he told an associate he would kill himself if she did not marry him.

He then added ominously that if he could not have her, then no one else would.

Not long after, Ms Meenatchi Narayanan, a 27-year-old Singaporean studying in Brisbane, Australia, was murdered in a hotel. She was stabbed 32 times and had her throat slit in what investigators described as a "frenzied attack", The Brisbane Courier-Mail reported.

Last Friday, Senthil Kumar Arumugam, 36, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to the 2014 murder in the Queensland Supreme Court in Brisbane, Australia's ABC News reported.

Prosecutor David Nardone told the court the couple had met through an arranged marriage website in November 2013.

"They met in person in December 2013 and their families met in February 2014 in India," he said. "But the deceased expressed some reservations about the relationship and the evidence supports that she commenced another relationship with another man in Australia."

After her death, Miss Narayanan's family and friends also told Australian media she had met Arumugam only out of courtesy and was not involved in an arranged marriage with him.

The court heard that Arumugam, an Indian national working as an engineer in South Africa, had told others that he would slit Miss Narayanan's throat if she was cheating, and that if he "could not have (her), nobody else will", Nine News reported.

Your motivation was anger and jealousy at her continuation of a relationship with someone other than yourself. Brisbane Supreme Court Judge David Boddice to the accused

Mr Nardone said: "Mr Arumugam was aware the deceased was, as far as he was concerned, cheating on him and asked an associate where he could buy an unregistered firearm."

When he was told he could not take a gun into Australia, he said he would buy a knife and slit her throat.

He then flew to Brisbane on a tourist visa in March 2014 and checked into a hotel in the suburb of Mt Gravatt.

When he met Ms Narayanan in the hotel room, neighbours heard "banging and screaming".

Arumugam later called reception and told the manager he was bleeding and his girlfriend was dead.

The couple were found bloodied, and Arumugam, who had several stab wounds, told investigators they had attempted a suicide pact after "she had asked him to help her die".

But Brisbane Supreme Court Judge David Boddice ruled her injuries were "entirely inconsistent" with the accused's claims.

In an attempt to make his story more believable, he had stabbed himself, but medical evidence determined he had carefully chosen areas on his body that were not life-threatening.

Calling the murder a "horrendous act of violence", Justice Boddice said: "Your conduct on the day in question was planned and persistent. When police arrived at the scene they found you lying next to the deceased.

"You admitted to stabbing her but falsely claimed to police that she had asked you to help her die."

Justice Boddice said of the victim's injuries: "Her throat had been slit and she had multiple wounds to other parts of her body. The wounds evidenced frantic attempts by the deceased to protect herself from what was a frenzied attack.

"Your motivation was anger and jealousy at her continuation of a relationship with someone other than yourself."

The prosecution said the case had been delayed for years because Arumugam had extensive mental health treatment.

Justice Boddice said psychiatrists accepted he had genuine psychotic symptoms in custody.

"You have also exaggerated symptoms in an unsuccessful attempt to rely on a mental health defence," he said.

With a mandatory non-parole period of 20 years, Arumugam will be eligible for release in 2035, having already spent 1,125 days in custody.

What happened before the murder of Meenatchi Narayanan

Many of her friends and family described her as a friendly and jovial woman who was well respected.

Ms Meenatchi Narayanan had moved to Brisbane, Australia, in 2012 to study for a master's in accountancy at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT), then an advanced master's degree in finance.

But in March 2014, the 27-year-old was murdered by a prospective suitor, Senthil Kumar Arumugam, who had flown to Brisbane from South Africa to confront her over her alleged infidelity.

Last Friday, Arumugam, 36, was sentenced to life in prison after pleading guilty to her murder.

After her death, Ms Narayanan's secondary school friend, Mr Lenny Lim, told The New Paper that she was a pleasant woman who had no enemies.

Her brother, Mr Letchumanan Narayanan, had described her as outgoing and jovial, and said she was looking forward to working in Australia or Singapore.

While she was reported to have been in an arranged marriage with Arumugam, her family denied it.

Mr Narayanan told Brisbane newspaper The Courier-Mail then that Arumugam was in Australia to meet his sister, but no marriage had been arranged.

"He is a friend that she had met recently, and she's likely to have visited him to see him off before his flight back," he said.

Mr Paul Liew and Ms Nishita Dhulia, her close friends from her Temasek Polytechnic days, told the Brisbane Times that she had not mentioned any plans to marry Arumugam.

Her father, Mr L. Narayanan, told The Straits Times in 2014 that Arumugam's family had approached him through a mutual friend and he had agreed to an introduction.

Later, his daughter and Arumugam made contact over the Internet, and Arumugam was also in close contact with her parents and her brother.

In early 2014, Ms Narayanan travelled to India with her family and met Arumugam for the first time.

When Arumugam wanted to check schools in Australia to further his studies, the older Mr Narayanan agreed to let him meet his daughter in Brisbane.

According to the family, Arumugam met her for lunch and a walk at QUT.

He later told her mother that his feelings for Ms Narayanan had grown stronger.

However, Ms Narayanan told her brother she had "mixed feelings" about Arumugam, but she would meet him in his hotel room as she had agreed to see him off for his flight back to South Africa. That was the last time the family heard from her. 

COURT & CRIME