Woman started fire that burnt then boyfriend, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman started fire that burnt then boyfriend

A woman was in her Sembawang rental flat when she started a fire in September 2021, and the flames caused burns to 15 per cent of her then boyfriend’s body.

Mr Premraj Ragoo, then 32, suffered burns including on his back and left buttock. The prosecution said that the Malaysian fell into depression and now has permanent scarring on his arms.

In March after a trial, District Judge Kow Keng Siong convicted Daljeet Kaur Dharam Chand, 35, of one of count of rashly contributing to the risk of causing a fire.

The Singaporean woman was initially expected to be sentenced on April 24, but she did not turn up in court.

Defence lawyer Asoka Markandu told Judge Kow that his pregnant client had called him to say that she was at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital.

The identity of the baby’s father was not disclosed in court and Kaur will be sentenced at a later date.

The prosecution said that Kaur, who started the fire, was a possessive lover and had sought to win Mr Premraj’s devotion through emotional manipulation.

The pair is believed to have split up.

She had lived in the same flat as Mr Premraj, the court heard.

In his submissions filed in February, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jonathan Tan said: “On Sept 6, 2021, the victim resolved to leave the flat and, in all likelihood, his relationship with the accused. She felt consuming anger, frustration and betrayal.

“The accused rashly lit two matchsticks in the flat after pouring thinner on the floor and this caused the fire that resulted in hurt to the victim.”

DPP Tan added: “She offered the victim complete financial provision, an offer that he found too good to refuse. Over time, she normalised unhealthy control and oversight.

“When disputes arose, she threatened to kill herself. The resultant toxic relationship was a ticking time bomb.”

According to court documents, Kaur decided to stage an elaborate stunt by buying thinner and matches when Mr Premraj wanted to leave on Sept 6, 2021.

DPP Tan said that Mr Premraj appeared nonchalant. Enraged, she poured the thinner on the floor, added the prosecutor.

He also told the court that an intoxicated Mr Premraj had sought to defuse the situation by snatching the thinner away from Kaur, but when she resisted, he resorted to “staging his own stunt” by pouring the flammable liquid on himself.

DPP Tan said that Mr Premraj started losing consciousness due to his intoxicated state and after inhaling fumes from the thinner. He then sat down outside a bedroom.

The prosecutor added: “At or around the time he passed out, the accused rashly and inconceivably decided to light two matchsticks while standing in the kitchen area.

“While the matchsticks were still burning, she failed to hold on to them. They dropped (and) caught fire with the thinner. The fire spread towards the victim and engulfed him in flames.”

During the trial, the defence claimed that it was Mr Premraj who started the fire.

Among other things, the defence said Kaur had dropped the matchsticks after the fire started and that Mr Premraj had been holding a lighter.

However, the prosecution said, these two points were fabricated afterthoughts, stressing that Kaur had earlier admitted in two of her statements to the authorities to starting the fire. The statements were taken within 48 hours after the incident.

The court heard that Mr Premraj declined surgery as he could not pay for it.

Instead, he had to return to Malaysia with his burns bandaged and manage recovery on his own, incurring expenses of over RM2,000 (S$570).