Man jailed for life for killing mum was ‘thoughtful’, says uncle
Life sentence for schizophrenic man who killed mum. Uncle says:
Growing up, Sujay Solomon Sutherson was a well-behaved child of above-average intelligence.
The eldest of three children was born in India. He came to Singapore with his mother, Madam Mallika Jesudasan, when he was 15.
He was eloquent and had a love for cricket and his family had no idea about his mental condition until he was in his 20s, said his uncle, Mr Daniel Jesudason, who also described Sujay as "thoughtful and considerate".
In 2012, things went horribly wrong when Sujay brutally attacked his mother, stabbing her with two knives.
After she collapsed, he stood over her for about 30 minutes before trying to decapitate her with a third knife.
He then tried to burn her body to get rid of the evidence.
Mr Jesudason, 56, discovered his sister's body under Sujay's bed.
The managing director of a medical facility was speaking to reporters shortly after his 34-year-old nephew was sentenced to life imprisonment by Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng.
She did not sentence Sujay to caning in view of his mental condition, she said.
Sujay exhibited no signs of his mental illness until he attended the National University of Singapore, Mr Jesudason said, and it was his schoolmates who alerted the family.
Mr Jesudason added that Sujay was also paranoid about the wiring in the house, thinking that people were listening in on him.
"Sometimes, as I was talking to him, he wouldn't respond properly, as though he was engaged in a different conversation," he said.
"The family understood his condition before the crime, but we didn't expect such severe violence."
Sujay, who lived with his mother and his two siblings in a Bukit Batok flat, would go for months looking unkempt, showering only when his mother told him to.
Even after he had been diagnosed with schizophrenia, his family found it difficult to make him adhere to his medical regime - he did not think he had a problem, said Mr Jesudason.
This was also evident during yesterday's hearing.
As Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan read out details of the attack and presented the court with pictures of the crime scene and Madam Jesudason's body, Sujay sat in the dock with a smile on his face, confidently looking around.
At times, he would flip through documents he had been presented with, pausing to rub his chin.
When Mr Kumaresan referred to previous cases as reference for sentencing, Sujay, who was representing himself, retorted that the cases mentioned involved premeditation, but not in his case.
After he was sentenced and the court was adjourned, Sujay exchanged a look with his uncle, who was in the public gallery, before he was taken away.
His aunt and uncle had been talking to him regularly via video link, his aunt, Madam Leela Jesudason, told The Straits Times recently.
The 50-year-old public relations veteran said: "The rest of the family will also walk away with wounds that will not heal."
Along with her brother, Daniel, psychiatrist Munidasa Winslow and former IT professional Eric Lee Meng Kai, she set up PSALTCare, which runs various self-help support groups for those living with mental illness and addictions, and works with students to raise awareness of mental health.
Mr Jesudason said that discovering his sister's body has left an imprint on him, but he has been able to deal with it.
"Unless something similar happens that may trigger flashbacks, I think I'm okay," he said.
He has thrown his energy into championing mental health issues and hopes more can be done in the public sector.
"We need to look at not just treatment but also rehabilitation," he said, conceding that incarceration would ensure treatment for his nephew.
In the three years since the incident, Sujay's siblings have also renovated the flat and are still living in it.
"I commend them for that. Maybe it's a gesture to their mother - they knew how much she did to pay for the flat," he said.
Mr Jesudason said that Sujay's siblings were unable to attend the court session because one is overseas and the other has work commitments.
When asked if he felt that justice has been served, Mr Jesudason said: "I'm not so concerned about justice, we've already lost two members of our family."
Sometimes, as I was talking to him, he wouldn't respond properly, as though he was engaged in a different conversation.
- Mr Daniel Jesudason on his nephew, Sujay Solomon Sutherson
ABOUT THE CASE
Last month, Sujay Solomon Sutherson, 34, was convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
This followed a five-day trial in the High Court.
Sujay, who was diagnosed with paranoia schizophrenia, killed his mother, Madam Mallika Jesudasan (photo), on May 27, 2012.
After what he claimed was an argument, he stabbed the 56-year-old in the neck in their Bukit Batok flat. He left the knife embedded in her neck as she stumbled away from him.
Sujay took another knife from the kitchen and stabbed her neck again, leaving both knives embedded in her. She collapsed after the second stabbing.
As Madam Jesudasan lay writhing on the floor for about half an hour, Sujay stood over her and watched as she bled out.
He later took a third knife from his bedroom and tried to decapitate her.
To hide evidence of his crime, Sujay tried to burn his mother's body using vodka, rice wine, newspaper, matches and a stove lighter but to no avail.
He then cleaned up evidence of the crime and wrapped the body in a blanket, hiding it under his bed.
When his siblings returned home later that evening and could not find their mother, he told them he did not know where she was.
They called their uncle, who later discovered Madam Jesudasan's body under Sujay's bed.
Sujay got violent, demanded his siblings' and uncle's phones and prevented them from leaving the house.
But Sujay's brother, Sunil, managed to escape and ran to a nearby Neighbourhood Police Post.
In calling for a term of life imprisonment, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan called it a case where the violence and cruelty "shock the conscience".
"The accused showed no compunction or hesitation as he stabbed the deceased, who was his own mother, repeatedly in the neck using multiple knives," Mr Kumaresan said.
While the law allows for caning, the prosecution said it would leave the decision to the court.