Jailed: Man who abducted wife, tried to set her on fire

·Senior Reporter
·5 min read
Murugan Nondoh, 40, had pleaded guilty to four charges: abduction, causing hurt, criminal intimation and unlawful possession of a penknife. (PHOTO: Getty Images)
Murugan Nondoh, 40, had pleaded guilty to four charges: abduction, causing hurt, criminal intimation and unlawful possession of a penknife. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — A 40-year-old man who abducted his wife and doused her with petrol in order to burn her before killing himself was on Wednesday (29 September) jailed for two years, two months and six weeks.

Murugan Nondoh, a Malaysian, had last week pleaded guilty to four charges: abduction, causing hurt, criminal intimidation and unlawful possession of a penknife.

Murugan's jail term was backdated to the date of his remand on 4 July 2019.

Murugan and his wife, also a Malaysian, are currently undergoing divorce proceedings. The couple married in 2007.

The woman had been unhappy with her marriage as Murugan had a bad temper, was physically abusive and gambled and got into debt.

In March 2019, she moved back to her mother’s house in Johor Bahru and filed for divorce. She tried to keep away from Murugan and blocked his phone number. But he continued to harass her, visiting her mother’s house and asking her family members to persuade her to return.

The woman rebuffed his pleas to meet on their wedding anniversary. In June 2019, after finding out that she had started working in Singapore, Murugan waited at the Malaysia checkpoint for four to five hours over six days.

When he saw her there on 25 June, Murugan chased her and grabbed her bag, taking a photo of her work permit which had her work address. The woman got her belongings back with the help of policemen at the checkpoint.

'Burn her 100 per cent'

Two days later, Murugan sent a voice message to a friend saying, “women like (his wife) should not be alone at all…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”.

Murugan also made arrangements in case he might not return to Malaysia, instructing his friend on how to dispose of his affairs, including his house in Johor Bahru, his dog, his motorcycle, and his father’s photo.

He then rode his motorcycle into Singapore and went to the victim’s workplace. As she was not working that day, he 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 Delicia Tan.

Murugan also asked about possible drugs or medication to make his wife lose consciousness, but his friend said he could not get the items. Murugan then said that he would tape her limbs. “If she starts making a lot of noise, (she is) gone. Will just give her one tight slap for her to faint immediately,” he said. 

He eventually decided to douse her in petrol.

'I will slaughter all of them'

On 1 July, Murugan rode into Singapore, bringing with him an empty bottle which he later filled with about two litres of petrol. He could not find the victim at her workplace so he hid the bottle there and went back to Johor Bahru. He told 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 next day, Murugan went to the workplace at about 5pm to retrieve the petrol and to wait for his wife. He saw her walking out of the entrance about an hour later. She happened to be on the phone with her niece, expressing her worries about Murugan.

Murugan then rode his motorcycle towards the woman and grabbed her neck from behind. She broke free and ran as Murugan chased her and grabbed her waist, and then poured petrol over her head. 

“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,” said DPP Tan.

The woman complied and got onto the pillion seat. Shortly after, Murugan alighted from the motorcycle and assaulted the victim on her head and chest. He also pointed a penknife at her. The woman's niece remained on the call throughout the incident and managed to record it. Her mother made a police report.

Over the next five hours, Murugan rode around aimlessly with his wife. He showed her the saree and dhoti that they wore at their wedding 12 years ago. He also told her that he would burn her and kill himself. 

“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.

Murugan then stopped at a cemetery near Nirvana Memorial Garden at Old Choa Chu Kang. He finally relented and decided to bring her back to Malaysia. 

Police officers rescued the woman and arrested Murugan at Tuas Checkpoint. She was treated for bruises and petroleum ingestion.

For abduction, he could have been jailed for up to seven years, fined and caned. He had initially faced a more serious charge of abduction in order to murder, which carries the death penalty or life imprisonment with caning.

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