KUALA LUMPUR: The decomposed body of a man fished out of the Klang River two years ago with the right hand and half the head missing has been confirmed as that of fugitive G. Francis Udayappan.
The coroners court which came to this conclusion yesterday also ruled out foul play as the cause of his death.
Magistrate Nazran Mohd Sham, who sat as coroner, returned an open verdict after ruling that the time, place, cause of death and manner in which Udayappan had died could not be determined positively by the court.
The inquest, which began on Aug 10, 2004, heard evidence from 15 witnesses.
Nazran confirmed the identity of the body primarily through the facts and evidence produced by Sjn Chan Kim Chai (who had custody of the fugitive prior to his escape from the Brickfields police headquarters), Prof K. Nadesan (a forensic pathologist with the University Malaya Medical Centre) and Dr Chang Yuet Meng (a chemist from the Chemistry Department).
Sjn Chan had confirmed in his testimony the facts leading to Udayappans escape, while Prof Nadesan said there was reasonable grounds to suspect the deceased was the fugitive based on the clothes, height, and period of death and discovery of the decomposed body.
(In his bid to escape, Udayappan was said to have jumped into the Klang River behind the Brickfields police headquarters. He was 24 when he died)
Dr Chang, in her testimony, had confirmed that the DNA sample taken from the body was degraded and added that there was a possibility of contamination.
(The chemist had testified in court that the DNA sample taken from the body did not match that of Udayappans parents.)
In ruling out criminal elements as the cause of death, Nazran said the forensic pathologist confirmed that no external injuries or visible bruises were found on the body.
Neither was he poisoned because the results of the toxicology test came out negative.
When the court stood down afterwards, Udayappans 47-year-old mother G. Sara Lily cried.
She said that while she was satisfied with the conclusion, she could not accept the fact that foul play was ruled out.
Her solicitor N. Surendran said the family would look at all options before deciding on their next course of action.