Curry murder

Mr Ayakannu Marithamuthu was murdered on 12 December 1984 at the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church and his body cooked in curry before being disposed of. The case became popularly known as the "Curry Murder".

Known as an unrepentant wife-beater, Ayakannu was a father of three who worked as a live-in caretaker of holiday chalets in Changi. His wife Naragatha made her living at the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church. Her immediate family members who comprised of her three brothers, mother and a sister-in-law were tired of Ayakannu's violence. Determined to put an end to his violence, the family hatched a deceitful plan.

On the day of the murder, Ayakannu was alleged to have had a prior meeting with his three brothers-in-law. They had then taken the deceased to the church where Naragatha worked. At the quarters of the church, Ayakannu was repeatedly bludgeoned to death. To destroy all traces of incriminating evidence, his body was then chopped up into pieces. The body parts were then cooked into a curry which was later tied in different plastic bags to be disposed all over the island to allay suspicions.

Investigations only revealed that the victim suffered head injuries from an iron rod in the kitchen of the quarters and was later chopped to be cooked in a large aluminium pot. One of Naragatha's three brothers was a butcher. Initially, Naragatha and her brothers were charged in 1987 with murder. However, as there was insufficient evidence against them, they were acquitted of their charges the same year. The brothers were re-arrested on the same day and unconditionally released in June 1991.

Apart from what investigations revealed, the prosecution was unable to prove that it was indeed the family members who caused Ayakannu's death. The cooking pot in which Ayakannu's body parts were allegedly cooked could not be found, leaving no traces of the savage act.

Renuka M.

Pugalenthii. (2000). True crimes of Singapore. Singapore: VJ Times International.
(Call no.: RSING 364.1095957 TRU)

The curry murder. (1995, May 6). Straits Times, Life!, p. 16.

The information in this article is valid as at 2002 and correct as far as we are able to ascertain from our sources. It is not intended to be an exhaustive or complete history on the subject. Please contact the Library for further reading materials on the topic.

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