Punggol Field murder: Man gets life term, caning for stabbing jogger in ‘senseless’ killing

SINGAPORE – On the anniversary of the day his father abandoned the family as well as his enlistment, a 20-year-old took a foldable knife and a wet wipe with him on his nightly jog.

Surajsrikan Diwakar Mani Tripathi became angry after he tripped and fell during his run, and decided to attack a stranger who jogged past him.

On Thursday, Surajsrikan, now 22, was sentenced to life imprisonment and 15 strokes of the cane after he pleaded guilty to a charge of murder in what prosecutors said was a “senseless” killing.

Surajsrikan admitted he stabbed and slashed Mr Tay Rui Hao, 38, an assistant manager at a sports apparel store, near a bus stop in Punggol Field at 11.08pm on May 10, 2020.

At 11.17pm, Mr Tay called 995 and said: “I’ve been stabbed many times.” 

An ambulance took him to Sengkang General Hospital, but he later died from his injuries.

The charge of murder with the intention of causing fatal injury carries the death penalty or life imprisonment and caning.

Prosecutors told the High Court that they would not object to life imprisonment, but sought 24 strokes of the cane. The defence pleaded for no caning to be imposed.

In sentencing, Justice Dedar Singh Gill said the sentence will not erase the memories of the painful episode but hoped it could provide some sort of closure for the victim’s family.

The court heard that May 10 was a significant date for Surajsrikan.

His father abandoned his mother while she was pregnant with him on May 10, 1999, two months into their arranged marriage, said his lawyer Edmond Pereira.

Surajsrikan enlisted for national service on May 10, 2018. Following an incident where he smashed communications equipment with a hammer in October that year, he was downgraded and discharged.

On the night of May 10, 2020, which was during the circuit breaker, Surajsrikan and Mr Tay left their respective homes for their regular runs.

“Bad memories associated with the date caused the accused to be frustrated and angry,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Andre Chong.