Singapore: Man jailed, caned for attacking girlfriend with hammer, breaking friend’s nose for failing to wake up

The court heard that Vikram Sagathevan had been reflecting on his anger issues while in custody and intends to seek help. — TODAY file pic
The court heard that Vikram Sagathevan had been reflecting on his anger issues while in custody and intends to seek help. — TODAY file pic

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SINGAPORE, Jan 14 — Angered that his friend, who had fallen asleep drunk, did not wake up when he attempted to rouse him but did so when others tried, Vikram Sagathevan broke his nose. Nearly a year later, he attacked his girlfriend with a hammer because she wanted to talk to her grandfather.

Today, the 35-year-old was jailed by a district court for 16 months, six weeks and 66 days after he pleaded guilty to one charge each of voluntarily causing grievous hurt, voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon and carrying an offensive weapon. He was also sentenced to six strokes of the cane.

Vikram’s sentence has been backdated to Jan 11 last year.

Two other similar charges were taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Angered because friend continued sleeping

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Dhiraj G Chainani told the court that Vikram had injured his friend, Mr Sathyashilan Isaac Paramaguru, while out on remission order, having previously been convicted for voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a metal pole.

The unprovoked attack on Mr Sathyashilan, then aged 24, happened at around 8am on March 1, 2020.

The prosecutor said Mr Sathyashilan had invited Vikram and another friend, Mr Hari Prasad Supramaniam, out for drinks after midnight that evening at the staircase of a public flat in Woodlands.

The trio eventually adjourned to a metal table around the void deck at about 5am after a resident came out of her home because of the noise being created by Vikram and his friends.

DPP Chainani said that Mr Sathyashilan eventually rested his head on the table and fell asleep, and did not respond to Vikram’s attempts to wake him up.

However, when two of Mr Sathyashilan’s friends walked by, they were able to rouse him from his sleep before they left the area.

The prosecutor said that Vikram was angered by the fact that Mr Sathyashilan remained asleep when he tried to wake him, but woke up when his friends tried.

Responding to Vikram’s question of why this was so, Mr Sathyashilan said he was tired. Vikram then punched Mr Sathyashilan on the bridge of his nose, causing it to fracture and bleed profusely.

Vikram ran off after Mr Hari broke up the scuffle between his two friends. A police report was lodged by Mr Sathyashilan shortly after.

‘Not as if you’re close’

A separate incident involving Vikram’s former girlfriend, Ms Gavriela Vaiytheeswari Sivakumar, took place on Jan 29 last year when she was 23 years old.

DPP Chainani said Vikram was having drinks with Ms Gavriela at the void deck near his home that evening when her grandfather walked by.

The older man then took the pair to a nearby coffee shop after a chat with his granddaughter.

This had upset Vikram, who questioned Ms Gavriela about why she wanted to speak with her grandfather, “as if the two shared a close relationship”.

It was not stated how Ms Gavriela responded. She then left to use the restroom and when she returned, her grandfather had already left.

At this point, Vikram slapped Ms Gavriela and “dragged her by her shirt collar” back to his home, said DPP Chainani.

There, he started kicking and punching the woman, and even used a hammer to strike her head and the rest of her body a few times. He also hit her with the back of a pair of scissors.

Vikram’s father, who was at home, came out of his room and told his son to stop attacking Ms Gavriela, but the younger man told his father to return to his room.

The older man complied and Vikram resumed assaulting Ms Gavriela. When he was done, he fell asleep, which gave Ms Gavriela, who was bleeding, an opportunity to escape and call the police.

The attack left multiple injuries on Ms Gavriela’s head, shoulders and hands.

While she did not suffer from haemorrhage in the brain, she had an abnormal accumulation of blood under her scalp and had swelling around one of her eyes.

As for Vikram’s third charge, DPP Chainani said it arose after the police responded to a report from a member of the public about a fight at the void deck of a public flat located along Woodlands Street 13 which Vikram was involved in on the night of May 23 last year.

The prosecutor said Vikram was uncooperative and walked away when the police tried to engage him, and was later seen tossing away a knife.

Seeking help

In pleading for a lighter sentence for his client, defence lawyer Foo How Chew said Vikram has been in remand for close to eight months and has been spending the time reflecting.

“Since he served his last sentence he’s been trying to reform himself. His only problem is his anger management, and I advised him to seek help,” said Mr Foo, adding that his client had agreed to do so.

In delivering his sentence, District Judge Ng Peng Hong said: “Mr Vikram, we have heard you. It is good you have reflected on your life and you are prepared to take stock of it by seeking help on your anger issues.”

He also suggested that Vikram consider whether alcohol had any part to play in his behaviour because “every time you drink, this kind of thing happens”.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Vikram could have been jailed up to 10 years and fined or caned.

For voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon, he could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined or caned, or punished with any of these combinations.

For carrying an offensive weapon, he could have been jailed up to three years and be given a minimum of six strokes of the cane. — TODAY

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