2017 Jul 25
32-year-old Sri Lankan-born Canadian-Tamil Suren Sivanathan was held captive for 12 hours, tortured, and finally beaten to death under orders of the jealous, soon-to-be-ex husband of his sweetheart.
Gnanachandran Balachandran, the 38-year-old soon-to-be-ex husband of Ragupathy Annalingham, both of whom are also Sri Lankan-born, reportedly hired Kiroraj Yogarajah, 30, Prashanth Thevarasa, 24, and a 17-year-old teenage boy – whose name has been withheld due to legal constraints owing to his underage status – to carry out a deadly plot to off his wife’s ‘mpango wa kando’ out of sheer jealousy.
The trio had beaten Balachandran’s love rival to a pulp, not just in one location, but all over Milton Keyes (MK).
What really happened? Here’s what the Luton Crown Court has heard so far…
The recruited gang kidnapped the unsuspecting Suren Sivananthan in the afternoon of Friday, January 20, 2017, whilst he was shopping at the Secklow Gate Shopping Centre in MK.
Prosecuter John Price QC said: “In effect, they kidnapped Suren, they encouraged him to drink.
“They persuaded him to go along with them making, as might be said an offer he could not refuse.”
The trio then took him in a taxi to yet another area of Milton Keynes, where they beat him up in an alley beside a fast-food restaurant.
Amidst the ordeal, Sivananthan received a call from Annalingham wanting to know where he was, and telling him she would come collect him.
“I don’t know, maybe the city centre. I don’t know,” Sivanandan responded to Annalingham over the phone. She then heard her jealous husband Balachandran on the line, questioning her about her relationship with Sivananthan.
“Why do you want to pick him up? Why are you asking where he is? You can’t live with your husband and so you take someone else. You are a bad person.”
Balachandran accused Annalingham of going off with other men before demanding, “Who is this man? Tell me what relationship you have?”
“You will see what I do to him,” Balachandran added, ominously.
The gang then took Sivananthan, who by now was bleeding heavily from his injuries, to an address on the Coffee Hall Estate in MK, where the unnamed 17-year-old and his older brother were staying at the time of the incident.
The unnamed teenager, who had been alone in the house and had received a phone call earlier from Balachandran, then became involved in the whole ordeal.
A further beating took place at the Coffee Hall Estate address before the gang called a cab to take them and the battered Sivananthan to the parade of shops at Great Linford.
A woman visiting a shop late at night saw the victim, and later told Police that he had had a “bashed up” face.
Two of the members of the deadly gang, who bought cigarettes and alcohol from a shop, had been heard speaking in Tamil about “a problem” with an ex-wife of one of their group and referring to a “womanizer”.
By now, the older brother of the unnamed teenager had caught wind of his younger sibling’s involvement in the deadly affair, and was anxious to locate his whereabouts and escort him back home.
One of the defendants had said to him over the phone: “We have caught the guy who is sleeping with [Balachandran’s] wife.”
CCTV footage then showed Balachandran and Yogarajah “manhandling” the victim past a Co-op shop at Great Linford to a nearby pond, with the teenager and Thevarasa on their heels.
The gang here dressed Sivananthan in clean clothes and put his bloodstained clothes in a carrier bag.
The older brother of the unnamed teenager later arrived at the same pond area, and took his little brother back to Coffee Hall.
The horrifying extent of Suren’s injuries
Suren Sivanathan’s battered, deceased body was found outside the Co-op at Great Linford, Milton Keyes at approximately 4.00 am on January 21, 2017. Prosecutor John Price QC said that Suren had sustained 39 separate injuries to his head and neck.
Further, the top of his scalp had been split open by a blunt force impact while another blow had split open the skin over his left eyebrow.
One of his eye sockets had also been severely injured.
A pathologist cited the cause of death as a sustained blunt force trauma to the victim’s head, which had resulted in a brain injury and had also been exasperated by the high level of alcohol found in his blood stream.
“The body showed obvious signs of numerous blunt force injuries, particularly to the head and face. Suren was severely beaten during a prolonged violent assault,” Prosecutor Price said.
The doomed marriage of Balachandran and Annalingham
During the murder trial, the jury at Luton Crown Court heard that Balachandran had a strong suspicion that Annalingham was sleeping with the late Sivananthan.
Annalingham and Balachandran had obviously not been leading a happily wedded life, despite having been blessed with a son. She accused Balachandran of being “too controlling” and “possessive”. As such, she had apparently been planning to dump Balachandran, and had been in the process of filing divorce papers when the tragedy occurred.
Balachandran had been outspokenly against the divorce.
Price said: “He continued to call her, to make contact with her and follow her around. The prosecution suggests that he was obsessed with her in an unhealthy way.”
The tale of Annalingham and Sivananthan
Ragupathy Annalingham and Suren Sivananthan were school friends, and so knew each other since their childhood in native Sri Lanka. Sivananthan and his family later moved to Canada, while Annalingham moved to Germany.
Annalingham met Balachandran when she was 17, and moved with him to the UK after marrying him.
Unfortunately, the marriage didn’t have the hoped-for happily-ever-after.
Years after the two moved to two different continents, Sivananthan and Annalingham were reunited through Facebook after Annalingham decided to end her doomed marriage.
Sivananthan, worried about criticism from the “traditional society” of Sri Lanka and that his own family may think ill of his girlfriend, decided to keep their budding relationship a secret.
In early 2017, Sivananthan took time off from work and flew thousands of miles from Toronto to the UK to visit Balachandran’s estranged wife and his new lover, Annalingham, whom he had not seen for 18 years. Sivananthan had stayed at Annalingham’s home in Milton Keynes from January 10 to January 21, 2017, upon arrival in the UK.
It is understood that a call was made to Thames Valley Police, voicing concerns for Sivananthan’s safety less than 24 hours before he was found dead. However, the local police seem to have failed to take action.
Sivananthan was due to fly back home to Canada the day the tragedy befell him.
Deny. Deny. Deny.
The estranged husband and his hired team of murderers have all been arrested, and are facing potential life sentences.
Balachandran, Yogarajah and Thevarasa, all residents of Milton Keynes, deny murder.
The fourth defendant, the teenager, has pleaded not guilty to an alternative charge of causing grievous bodily harm with intent to Sivananthan.
‘A fine, upstanding young man’
The tragedy has devastated both MK’s Tamil community and Sri Lankan community, who proceeded to pay tribute to the late Suren, whom they described as “a fine, upstanding young man”.
Unusually, police conducting the murder investigation have already referred themselves to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC) for scrutiny.
‘I never thought in my life I would plan my brother’s funeral,’ says Suren’s younger sister…
Sinthuja Suresh, Suren’s lil sis, had given her big brother a ride to Pearson Airport just before the New Year, unaware that it would be the last time they saw each other.
“He came all the way from Canada to there, not to die,” she told CBC Toronto. “We still don’t know what really happened to him.”
“He was a wonderful brother. He was a wonderful uncle. He would never hurt a fly.” Suresh added.
“My son is asking: ‘Where’s my uncle? What happened to him? Why are you putting his picture like this, mommy?’”
She said that she was struggling to explain to her children what happened to their beloved uncle.
“I still didn’t tell my kids what happened to him; that they’ll never see their uncle again.”
“I never thought in my life I would plan my brother’s funeral,” Suresh remarked, stricken with grief.
Cricket league saddened by the loss of their beloved team player
Suren Sivananthan played for several cricket teams in the Markham Toronto Cricket League since 2009, the Marham Toronto Circket League said, after news of his gruesome death came to light.
“We are saddened to lose a great human being in such tragedy,” a spokesperson for the League told CBC Toronto in an email.
“He is a quiet gentleman in the grounds and a passionate cricketer. His love for cricket was respected by all of the members in our league.”
Suren’s Facebook page was reportedly visited by hundreds who paid tribute to the cricketer of Toronto, following his unfortunate demise.
The trial continues.