SA man arrested in Australia for brutal murder of prospective bride

2014-03-31 00:00

AN Indian engineer from KwaZulu-Natal is being held in Australia on a murder charge after the horror death of a young student in a Brisbane hotel room.

The 27-year-old Meenatchi Nara­yanan was repeatedly stabbed with a knife, allegedly by the man her family had once thought of as “mild mannered and good natured”. He also allegedly tried to smother her with a pillow, before slitting her throat.

It is believed they were destined to be married in terms of an agreement that had been pre-arranged by their respective families.

Senthill Kumar Arumugam (31) told the Queensland police his address was Rider Haggard Avenue in Newcastle, KwaZulu-Natal. However, no one could be found in that street who knew of him, Beeld reported.

Narayanan, a divorcée, is from Singapore and was studying an advanced Masters programme at the Queensland University of Technology.

Arumugam apparently met Narayanan in Brisbane last Monday, shortly after he had arrived in that city from South Africa.

According to the Singapore Straits Times, a statement from Naranyanan’s family said the two had first met in November last year through a family friend and that Narayanan had initially expressed interest in getting to know Arumugam better.

Her family had supported this and said that during this period, “our impression of him was a mild-mannered and good-natured person.”

Narayanan, who regularly kept in touch with her family through Skype and WhatsApp, apparently had second thoughts while in Brisbane, the family said.

This was after she had told them that Arumugam had began expressing “stronger and stronger feelings,” but that she had needed more “time and space”.

They booked into a Travelodge in the city last Wednesday and the hotel manager heard screams coming from the room at about midnight. He called the police after he saw blood spilling out from underneath the door.

The police broke down the hotel door and found Arumugam next to the corpse. Her body had numerous stab wounds. He allegedly also tried to smother her with a pillow before cutting her throat.

He allegedly had cuts on his arms and stomach — an apparent effort to commit suicide, and he was taken to a hospital where he received treatment while in police custody.

A judge charged him with murder the following day during a special magistrate’s court session in the hospital room. He has not entered a plea.

The Brisbane Times reported that the two had been destined to be married in terms of a family arrangement, but that she was against the marriage.

Another newspaper report said the two met via an Indian website that caters for people searching for prospective marriage partners.

According to these reports the two met each other once in Singapore where they had sex. It had apparently caused both of them to become depressed, because sex outside marriage is taboo in the Hindu tradition.

Narayanan’s brother, Letchumanan, has denied that they were due to get married.

Friends at the university described Narayanan as a friendly person, with a bubbly personality, somebody who got along with everyone.

None of them was aware of her relationship with Arumugam and she also did not discuss him with anyone. There is no reference to him or photographs of him on her Facebook page.

One of the last posts on her page indicates that she did not care about wealth or money. She had only wanted to be happy.

According to the police, Arumugam will appear in the local magistrate’s court on April 5.

The spokesperson of Department of International Relations and Co-operation, Nelson Kgwete, confirmed this week that the suspect is an Indian citizen who had worked in South Africa.

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