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Police Officer Witnessed Abuse by Maid and Remained Silent

SINGAPORE (ANN/THE STRAITS TIMES) – During his trial on May 28, suspended police officer Kevin Chelvam revealed that he saw his estranged wife and mother-in-law abuse their maid on several occasions.

Despite witnessing this cruel behavior in person and via CCTV footage since 2015, Chelvam did not report it to anyone outside the family.

Facing five charges, Chelvam admitted to the abuse under cross-examination.

When questioned by police about his inaction, he said he was afraid of his then-wife Gaiyathiri Murugayan and feared her reaction if he intervened.

Citing the statement, deputy public prosecutor Stephanie Koh asked Chelvam, 45, on May 28 whether he neglected to protect Ms Piang Ngaih Don to avoid arguing with his wife. He disagreed, saying he had spoken to Gaiyathiri about stopping the abuse.

Ms Piang Ngaih Don, who had worked for the family for 14 months, died of head trauma with severe blunt force trauma to her neck on July 26, 2016, after months of repeated mistreatment. She was burned with a heated iron, choked, violently shaken, punched, kicked, and stomped, among other things.

Gaiyathiri was sentenced to 30 years in prison and Chelvam’s mother-in-law, Prema S. Naraynasamy, 65, was sentenced to 17 years in prison for her role in the case, which constitutes one of the worst cases of violence domestic in Singapore.

Chelvam, who was suspended from duty on August 8, 2016, is on trial on four charges, including one for willfully injuring Ms Piang Ngaih Don by grabbing her hair and another for inciting willfully causing serious injury to Mrs. Piang Ngaih Don by starvation.

The other two charges relate to providing false information to a police officer and removing CCTV cameras – which recorded the abuse – from his home.

The prosecution raised three incidents in court on May 28 to show Chelvam’s alleged indifference to Ms Piang Ngaih Don’s abuse.

First, when he noticed a burn on the assistant’s hand, shaped like iron, he questioned his then-wife, as he suspected it was her. Gaiyathiri said the maid accidentally burned herself, which Chelvam accepted without investigating further.

Second, when Gaiyathiri told him that she had tied the assistant to a window grille at night to prevent her from stealing food from the kitchen, Chelvam told her to stop doing that, but did not not verified whether she had actually done so.

It was revealed in previous hearings that during the last 12 days of Ms Piang Ngaih Don’s life, she had been tied to the window grille at night while she slept on the floor.

Third, CCTV footage played in court showed Chelvam kicking the maid while he was washing dishes on June 24, 2016. When Prema assaulted the helper next to him, he did not not stopped.

DPP Koh conveyed to Chelvam that as a police officer he knew the abuse against Ms Piang Ngaih Don was criminal in nature and that he did not report the abuse because he wanted to protect Gaiyathiri and Prema . He disagreed.

On the day the maid died, Gaiyathiri told Chelvam before leaving for work that the maid was not responding.

The prosecution noted that this was out of the ordinary, as the housekeeper was usually awake before Chelvam went to work. However, Chelvam admitted in court that he had only checked to see if the maid was still breathing, without looking for possible injuries.

A few hours later, Gaiyathiri called him to tell him that Ms Piang Ngaih Don had died.

CCTV footage showed that when Chelvam returned home after hearing the news, he barely stopped to look at the assistant lying on the sofa before entering the bedroom, where the recorder was located. video surveillance.

Shortly after he entered the bedroom, four out of five cameras in his house stopped recording.

The only camera still running was the one in the kitchen. Prema and Chelvam were then seen looking at the camera one after the other. The police arrived shortly after.

The prosecution asked if Chelvam checked to see if the camera was still recording, to which he responded that he did not remember.

The trial continues on May 29.

Kevin Chelvam is on trial on four counts, including one of inciting willfully causing serious injury to Ms Piang Ngaih Don by starvation. PHOTO: ANN/DETROIT TIMES SOURCE