SHAH ALAM: The rape and murder trial of Canny Ong Lay Kian began in a sombre mood in the High Court here yesterday, with her mother recounting her daughter’s last words on the night of June 13 before she was found dead.
“Oh! Mummy, let me go get the ticket,” was the final sentence Pearly Visvanathan heard from her 29-year-old daughter before she dashed to the basement of a shopping centre to retrieve a parking ticket from her mother’s car.
“Before I could say anything, she had already gone to the lift to go to the car park,” Pearly said in a voice choked with emotion before continuing her testimony against former aircraft cabin cleaner Ahmad Najib Aris, the man accused of raping and murdering Canny.
“As usual, she was a very good girl. She asked me to queue at the auto pay parking ticket machine with her sister, Elsie Ong Lee Cheng, as there were many people waiting. Elsie was not feeling well so she did not follow Canny to the parking lot.
“She (Canny) went and never came back to me. I waited for more than 20 minutes. When she did not show up, I became very anxious.
“I asked her sister to call Canny on her handphone. She called twice. It rang the first time, but the second time she tried, it was diverted to the phone’s voice-mail box,” said Pearly.
The 57-year-old retired teacher explained that they were at the shopping mall to attend a farewell dinner organised by Canny, who was back on a visit from the United States, for her friends.
She said Canny had included her at the dinner and was about to accompany her to the car slightly after 10pm – so that she (Pearly) could drive home to Cheras, when she suddenly realised that the parking ticket was left in the car.
Canny, she said, was supposed to adjourn to another venue that night with Elsie and their friends before flying off to the United States the next day at 9am.
Listening intently to Pearly from the dock was Ahmad Najib, 27, who allegedly committed the crime on the IT analyst at the 11th kilometre of Old Klang Road between 1am and 5am on June 14.
Dreading something foul had happened, Pearly said she ran down to the basement with Elsie.
“It was empty. I was very scared. There was not a single soul and not a single car around.
“I ran back to the lift and rushed to the Monte restaurant where we dined earlier to look for Canny’s friends to help find her,” Pearly said, pressing her fingers hard to her pursed lips.
She managed to find three of Canny’s friends and when they failed to locate Canny, they went to the guardroom to ask for permission to view the video of the basement shot on the complex’s closed-circuit television.
“We pleaded to the guards to help us. But they were not very helpful.
“I asked them to make a report but they pushed us away. They told us to leave them alone to do their job.
When I asked them to screen the video of the last hour, they told us that they could only replay it after midnight!” said Pearly.
She said they finally got to view the video between 2am and 3am after lodging a report at the Brickfields police station.
“In the video, I saw a man wearing a light-coloured long-sleeved shirt driving my Proton Tiara. He then rammed into the barrier at the exit.
“I could not make out whether Canny was in the car as the figure beside him seemed dark. It could be his shadow,” she said.
Asked by DPP Salehuddin Saidin, Pearly said Canny wore a black tube top covered with a shawl-like blouse and a pair of blue jeans.
Pearly broke down again when she spoke about why she did not enter the mortuary to identify her daughter’s remains, which were found four days after she had gone missing.
“We were told it was burnt beyond recognition. I was scared I could not take it. I was still hoping it was not her.
“Later, I happened to look at the newspapers and I saw the hair dangling from the stretcher. I also saw that the face was a bit roundish. I realised it was Canny but I didn’t tell anyone. I kept it in my heart,” said Pearly, who will continue testifying before Justice Muhamad Ideres Muhamad Rapiee today.
Earlier, Salehuddin said in his opening speech that Canny and Ahmad Najib had shown their identification cards to policemen when stopped at a roadblock near the Subang airport on the night she went missing.
He said the prosecution would also seek to establish evidence through independent witnesses who had helped the accused and Canny to change a flat tyre near the Bali nightspot at Leisure Commerce Square in Sungai Way.