Malaysia

Sosilawati murder trial: Maid heard two female screams from plantation, court told

SHAH ALAM, Aug 3 — A maid said she heard a woman’s scream twice in the night cosmetics millionairess Datuk Sosilawati Lawiya and three others was believed to be killed, the High Court here was told today.

Siti Hamidah Karnax, an Indonesian, claims the screams were from the plantation area in Jalan Tanjung Layang, Tanjung Sepat.

She testified that she heard the screams at 9pm on August 20, 2010 while working in the workers’ hostel, while preparing a tosai batter, Bernama Online reported.

The 33rd prosecution witness said she carried on with her work despite the screams.

The 18-year-old mimicked the screams when asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Idham Abd Ghani, seemingly primal without suggesting words. The screams were separated by seconds only said Siti Hamidah who originates from Sunda, Indonesia.

She was the maid of lawyer N.Pathmanabhan, 42, and plantation worker R.Khatavarayan, 31, who are on trial together with farm hands R.Thilaiyalagan, 20, and R.Matan, 21; for the murder of Sosilawati (picture) , 47, CIMB Kampung Baru branch bank officer, Noorhisham Mohammad, 38, Sosilawati's lawyer Ahmad Kamil Abdul Karim, 32, and her chauffeur, Kamarudin Shamsuddin, 44.

They are accused of perpetrating the crime in Jalan Tanjung Layang Tanjung Sepat, Banting, between 8.30pm and 9.45pm on August 30, 2010.

She said the rest at the hostel were glued to the TV and eating tosai served by Khatavarayan's wife, Jacinta.

Later that evening, in early hours of 1am August 31, 2010, Jacinta instructed her to get some items from the plantation’s karaoke centre.

She picked up two T-shirts, track pants, towel, shampoo, talcum powder, pail and turmeric and left them behind the hostel.

At the karaoke centre, Siti Hamidah saw the said items strewn on the floor, with the towel damp and the turmeric mixed with water. There she saw Khatavarayan and four workers, however Patmanabhan was not present.

She noticed a huge fire near Thilaiyalagan’s residence, claiming it was as high as a palm oil plant.

Though fires are not uncommon there, this was the biggest she’s ever seen.

Siti Hamidah said she had seen substantial fires like that when an Indian-national Raja and a man called Syafik came on separate occasions.

Through the window she saw the wind blow a big and red item before 1am on August 31, 2010.

Through the same window she saw three men and a woman with shoulder-length hair with a blue jacket at a small rest hut earlier at 7pm.

She says she could not ascertain the races of the four.

She further testified that Jacinta told her and several plantation workers on August 30, 2010 to enter hostel, and close the doors and windows before 5pm.

Following that, Jacinta instructed Jacinta to grab a parang for Khatavarayan, Siti Hamidah then took two parangs and a knife from Khatavarayan’s room’s shelf, and placed  them behind the door before Khatavarayan stashed them into a grey Isuzu D-Max four-wheel vehicle.

At this point Siti Hamidah spotted Patmanabhan going over to Khatavarayan and talking before the latter entered his vehicle.

During cross examination by defence counsel Manjeet Singh Dhillon, the maid admitted lying about being 23 to get her passport when she was 15 to enter Malaysia for employment. She worked as a maid in Kelantan in 2008.

She left her Kelantanese employer because she was beaten, and started working for Pathmanaban in March 2009.

She claims she has been physically abused by Pathmanabhan's wife, Khatavarayan and Jacinta.

Answering a question on why like in Kelantan she did not flee, Siti Hamidah said running away was not a good idea since runaways were beaten or done in worse when captured.

The maid denied there was a reward for her testimony.

When suggested by Khatavarayan's counsel Ravi Nekko that it rained on August 30, 2010, Siti Hamidah disagreed.

She said also that Khatavarayan had turmeric showers when there was fire in the plantation.

Judge Datuk Akhtar Tahir will continue to preside the proceedings tomorrow.

 

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