Death of Ayakannu Marithamuthu

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Ayakannu Marithamuthu
Cause of deathMurdered
Known forMurder victim[1]

The police alleged that Marithamuthu was killed in the caretakers quarters of the Orchard Road Presbyterian Church in Singapore.[2]

Ayakannu Marithamuthu,[a] a 34-year-old caretaker, vanished in December 1984. He had lived near Orchard Road Presbyterian Church in Singapore. On 23 March 1987, investigators brought in six individuals for questioning. Charges were brought but the defendants were released on the day of the trial due to lack of evidence.

During the two-year-long investigation, neither Marithamuthu's body nor murder weapons were recovered. The incident has been referred to as the Curry Murder, because of allegations that the victim's body was cooked into a curry before being disposed of in garbage containers.


Of Indian descent, Ayakannu Marithamuthu (born 1950) worked as a caretaker in charge of the Public Utilities Board-run holiday chalets situated alongside Biggin Hill Road, Changi, Singapore. Since around 1980, Marithamuthu, his wife and their three children had been residing at a small house behind Orchard Road Presbyterian Church.[3]

Ayakannu Marithamuthu allegedly was killed just outside his house on 12 December 1984.[4] Ayakannu Marithamuthu's spouse filed a missing person's report at the Joo Chiat Police Station, where she stated that Marithamuthu had gone to Genting Highlands to try his hand at gambling.[5]

The police began an investigation during which they arrested Marithamuthu's wife, her three brothers, her mother, and her sister-in-law. The police alleged that the first four suspects had planned to kill him, while the remaining two suspects were alleged to have given them support.[6]

Detention and release[edit]

The six suspects were to be tried for murder, with a possible death penalty if convicted. They were represented by lawyers Subbiah Pillai and Raj Kumar. Approximately two hundred people were seated in the courtroom to witness the trial.[6] On the day of the trial, the prosecutors admitted that the evidence was insufficient and the judge in charge of the case released the suspects.[6]

Police stated that they were undertaking further investigations, and that the suspects would be brought back to court if more substantial evidence was uncovered.[6] The same day they were released,[2] the three brothers were re-arrested under the Criminal Law Act and detained in Changi Prison for four years before being released.[4]

Coverage in the press and impact[edit]

Central Investigations Department director Jagjit Singh stated, "This is one of the most unusual and bizarre cases we have ever handled."[7] In 1995, the Television Corporation of Singapore (TCS) broadcast a television serial titled Doctor Justice, starring Collin Chee and Aileen Tan. One of the thirty episodes depicted an exaggerated version of the "Curry Murder".[4]


  1. ^ Other sources maintain his name as Ayakanno Marithamuthu.[3]


  1. ^ "Other gruesome murders that took place in Singapore". Archived from the original on 4 January 2015. Retrieved 27 December 2014.
  2. ^ a b Lim, Peter H. L. (2009). Chronicle of Singapore, 1959-2009: Fifty Years of Headline News. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 212–. ISBN 9789814217750. Retrieved 13 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b Yeo Suan Futt (10 April 2013). Murder Most Foul: Strangled, poisoned and dismembered in Singapore. Marshall Cavendish International Asia Pte Ltd. pp. 39–. ISBN 978-981-4484-58-9.
  4. ^ a b c Chin Soo Fang (6 May 1995). "Curry murder case to be in new TCS serial". p. 16.
  5. ^ Audrey Perera (2011). Singapore at Random. Editions Didier Millet. pp. 129–. ISBN 978-981-4260-37-4.
  6. ^ a b c d "Judge frees six charged in curry murder case". The Straits Times. 7 June 1987. p. 1.
  7. ^ "Curry Murder Horror". The Straits Times. 27 March 1987. p. 1.