SINGAPORE (CNA) – A 24-year-old man was sentenced to four years’ jail yesterday for beating his purported “stalker” to death in a 20-minute assault that was aided by his stepfather, with the judge declining to impose caning due to the “somewhat unique nature” of the case.
Ryan Xavier Tay Seet Choong was given the term for one charge of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. He claimed that the victim, 26-year-old Shawn Ignatius Rodrigues, had stalked him and his family for years.
Tay’s stepfather, 59-year-old Lawrence Lim Peck Beng, was sentenced to eight months’ jail for abetting the crime by restraining the victim, sitting on his buttocks and performing a leg lock so the victim could not extricate himself.
District Judge Tan Jen Tse said that evidence shown in the trial revealed that the victim had harassed the two offenders over two years, resulting in 59 police reports.
The two men had not actively sought Rodrigues out, but only reacted when the victim harassed them at their home, said the judge, adding that the victim’s “provocative behaviour serves as a strong mitigating factor”.
The victim sustained fractures and died from traumatic asphyxiation after the 20-minute assault at a staircase outside the two offenders’ Yishun flat in 2016.
Tay was 10 when he met the victim at a Catholic church where they were both altar boys. After Rodrigues developed a “special liking” for him, Tay said he began feeling uneasy and distanced himself from the victim.
He later realised that the victim had used a photo of Tay as his WhatsApp photo and was “disgusted”, leading him to leave the church. After this, Rodrigues began appearing in front of his flat to talk to him, said Tay.
His stepfather said the victim harassed his family and made nuisance calls to them over the period of about two years, increasing in frequency in 2015.
On the day that Rodrigues died, he had allegedly harassed the family at their flat several times until Tay pursued him and began scuffling with him. Tay’s stepfather joined him soon after.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Jason Chua had asked for at least five years’ jail and eight strokes of the cane for Tay, and at least a year’s jail for Lim.
He pointed out aggravating factors in the case, such as the manner of assault, which lasted 20 minutes, while Rodrigues was pinned to the ground by both Tay and Lim.