'Confirm burn her 100 per cent': Man abducted wife who wanted a divorce

·Senior Reporter
·6-min read
A woman with her face covered. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
A woman with her face covered. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — He was abusive towards his wife who was seeking a divorce and followed her to Singapore from Malaysia. 

After turning up at his wife's workplace, Murugan Nondoh, 39, abducted his wife on his motorcycle and doused her with petrol, intending to burn her then kill himself. He had first asked a friend for help to kill his 40-year-old wife and asked for drugs to make her lose consciousness. 

On Wednesday (22 September), the Malaysian man pleaded guilty to one count each of criminal intimation, causing hurt, abduction and unlawful possession of a penknife.

Murugan and the woman, who married in 2007, are separated and currently undergoing divorce proceedings.

The woman had been unhappy with her marriage to Murugan, who had a bad temper and was physically abusive towards her. Murugan’s gamblings habit had also landed him in debts.

In February 2019, the woman confided in her friend about her loneliness. The friend gave her a telephone number of a man for her to befriend. She began chatting with this man. Murugan found out about his wife's chat with the man in March 2019.

Murugan used his wife’s handphone to video call the man, and asked for his name before hanging up on the call. Suspecting the woman of having an affair, he confronted his wife, who denied it as she had never met the man.

Later that month, the woman moved to her mother’s house in Johor Bahru and filed for divorce. She tried to keep away from Murugan and blocked his number. Murugan still continued to harass her, visiting her mother’s house and asking her family members to persuade her to return.

The woman rebuffed his plea to meet her on their wedding anniversary. After discovering that the woman had begun working in Singapore, Murugan waited at the Malaysia checkpoint for some four to five hours for six days in June 2019.

Murugan saw her on 25 June 2019 but she warned him not to come near her. She tried to flee while Murugan gave chase and grabbed her bag. He searched the bag and found his wife’s work permit, which had her workplace address.

He took a photograph of the permit. The woman later got her bag back after seeking help from police officers at the checkpoint.

On 27 June 2019, Murugan sent a voice message to his friend that “women like (his wife) should not be alone at all… (he) will confirm burn her 100 per cent”. The next day, he told his friend that he refused to let anyone “have the victim since he cannot have her”, Deputy Public Prosecutor Delicia Tan told the court.

Knowing that he might not return to Malaysia, Murugan instructed his friend on how to deal with his belongings, including his house in Johor Bahru, his dog, his motorcycle, and his father’s photo.

He then rode his motorcycle from Johor Bahru into Singapore and headed to the victim’s workplace to look for her. As she was not working that day, Murugan asked about her working hours and applied for a job there himself.

Over the next two days, Murugan decided to abduct his wife from her workplace.

“The accused told (his friend) that there was no other way but to kill the victim and that ‘this matter should come out on newspapers’ so that other women will fear being with other women’s husband and ‘everyone will really think (he is) a real man’,” said DPP Tan.

He asked about possible drugs or medication to make his wife lose consciousness. His friend replied that he could not obtain the items.

Murugan then said that he would just tape her limbs and leave. “If she starts making a lot of noise, (she is) gone. Will just give her one tight slap for her to faint immediately,” he told his friend. He eventually decided to douse her in petrol.

On 1 July 2019, Murugan rode into Singapore, bringing with him an empty bottle, which he later filled with about two litres of petrol. After he visited the victim’s workplace, where he hid the bottle, he could not find the victim and returned to Johor Bahru.

He updated his friend, “(She) can escape today and let her be happy today. Let her be happy with him for today. Tomorrow, I will slaughter all of them together”.

The woman found out that Murugan had come to her workplace and feared for her safety. On 2 July 2019, Murugan returned to the workplace at around 5pm. He retrieved the bottle of petrol that he had hidden and waited around for his wife.

At about 6pm, he saw her walk out of the entrance while talking on the phone. She was talking to her niece about how Murugan had found out her workplace, expressing her worries that he would harass her as soon as she stepped out of her workplace.

At this point, Murugan rode his motorcycle towards the woman’s back. He then grabbed her neck from behind. The woman struggled and cried for help. She broke free and ran while Murugan chased her and grabbed her waist. He noticed that there were passers-by looking at him and poured the entire bottle of petrol onto the woman’s head. She swallowed some petrol and fell burning sensations all over her body.

“The accused said to the victim that if she did not leave the said location with him on the motorcycle, he will burn and kill her. The accused also said that he came to Singapore to burn the victim and he had no intention of going back to JB.” The woman complied and got onto the pillion seat.

A few moments later, Murugan alighted from his motorcycle and assaulted the victim on her head and chest. He also pointed a penknife at her.

Murugan later updated his friend with a photo of himself and his wife crying on the motorcycle. As the call between the victim and her niece was still ongoing, the niece managed to record the exchange and informed her brother and a friend. A police report was lodged by the niece’s mother.

Over the next five hours, Murugan rode around aimlessly. Murugan had brought with him a saree and dhoti that he and his wife wore to their wedding 12 years ago and showed them to her.

“The victim thought that the accused wanted both of them to wear their wedding outfits before burning her and himself as she had seen couples committing suicide in their wedding outfits in Tamil movies,” said DPP Tan.

Throughout her ordeal, Murugan told his wife he would burn her and kill himself and refused to let her seek medical treatment.

The pair finally stopped at a cemetery near Nirvana Memorial Garden at Old Choa Chu Kang. Murugan finally relented and brought the woman back to Malaysia.

While at Tuas Checkpoint, police officers rescued the woman and Murugan was placed under arrest.

The woman was given medical attention and was treated for bruises and petroleum ingestion.

Murugan will be sentenced on 29 September.

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