Man who killed grandmother gets 18 years' jail for 'heinous crime'

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Murder of 62-year-old woman in Yishun

A 50-year-old man who killed a 62-year-old woman after she caught him stealing her jewellery was jailed for 18 years yesterday.

Rejecting the prosecution's arguments that former car washer P. Mageswaran should be given life imprisonment, the High Court said the case did not fall within the worst type of culpable homicide cases that deserved the maximum sentence.

Mageswaran was convicted in May of culpable homicide for strangling and suffocating Madam Kanne Lactmy in her Yishun Street 81 flat in 2013.

"This is a sufficiently stiff sentence to punish the accused for a heinous crime..." said Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Pheng.

She also rejected the prosecution's arguments that Mageswaran should get an additional six months' jail in lieu of caning. Those who are 50 and above cannot be caned.

This was not a premeditated offence, she said, but a case of a robbery gone "terribly and tragically wrong".

She also noted the acts of strangulation and suffocation were undoubtedly vicious, but there was no exceptional cruelty involved, which would place the case as being one of the worst types of culpable homicide.

She also disagreed with prosecutors that there had been an abuse of trust and that greed was the motivating factor.

She accepted the results of neuropsychological tests submitted by the defence that Mageswaran suffered from mental impairments.

She, however, agreed with prosecutors that due weight must be given to Mageswaran's long criminal record.

Mageswaran used to work for Madam Lactmy's older son and was invited to their family gatherings. On Dec 9, 2013, he arrived at Madam Lactmy's flat at about 8.35am and asked to borrow $2,000 to $3,000.

He needed RM5,000 (about S$1,600) for an instalment payment on his new flat.

She said she did not have so much money. When she went to brush her teeth, Mageswaran searched the flat and found a box containing jewellery and pawnshop tickets.

Madam Lactmy caught him and demanded that he return the box, but he pleaded for it.

When she threatened to call her son, Mageswaran pressed a pillow over her face with his right hand, while he choked her with his left.

He left with the box and later pawned the jewellery for RM26,300. He was arrested eight days later at the Woodlands Checkpoint.

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