Man on trial for murdering estranged wife with machete blames ex for his depression

Click to play video: 'The statement Sasikaran Thanapalasingam gave police now an exhibit at his first-degree murder trial.'
The statement Sasikaran Thanapalasingam gave police now an exhibit at his first-degree murder trial.
WATCH ABOVE: As Catherine McDonald reports, Sasikaran Thanapalasingam denied he killed his wife but admitted she had left him after he helped bring her to Canada – Nov 22, 2022

Sasikaran Thanapalasingam appeared anxious and upset when he was interviewed by police on Sept. 12, 2019, the day after allegedly murdering his estranged wife Tharshika Jeganathan.

In a 90-minute video statement shown in court at the judge-alone trial of Thanapalasingam, accused of the brutal slaying of the 27-year-old, the accused tells Det. Sgt. Keri Fernandes, through a Tamil translator, that he is innocent when she informs him he is being charged with first-degree murder.

“You guys are accusing me of an incident. I didn’t do anything. I don’t even like to kill a small bird,” Thanapalasingam said, adding he has been suffering from depression ever since his wife left him.

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According to an agreed statement of facts, Jeganathan arrived in Toronto in February 2017 to join Thanapalasingam, whom she wed in an arranged marriage in India on Nov. 1, 2015. Three weeks later, Thanapalasingam was arrested for assault and Jeganathan moved out.

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Between April and September 2017, Thanapalasingam was arrested on three occasions for failing to comply with bail conditions to have no contact with Jeganathan. He pled guilty to one charge. The two others were eventually withdrawn.

He was acquitted of the assault charge but in August 2018, was again cautioned after she reported that he had showed up at a coffee shop near the Dollarama where she worked.

In October 2018, Thanapalasingam provided police with a letter stating that he had been receiving threatening phone calls from Jeganathan’s friends indicating that he had complained to immigration Canada that Jeganathan’s marriage to him was a ruse. He also provided police with a recording of the alleged threatening phone calls.

The police listened to the recordings and cautioned the individuals they believed to be the calling parties.

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On Dec. 31, 2017, Thanapalasingam initiated divorce proceedings, claiming on his application that he was owed approximately $30,000 from Jeganathan for her dowry property, including the wedding necklace and wedding expenses.

He alleged that Jeganathan only wanted to marry him to migrate to Canada. He also alleged that Jeganathan had assaulted him and that she levelled false allegations of domestic violence against him.

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Jeganathan filed responding materials in the summer of 2019 disputing Thanapalasingam’s financial claims and detailed allegations of his abusive and controlling behaviour towards her. He was served with those papers less than a month before Jeganathan was murdered by a man wielding a machete, who chased her and attacked her in broad daylight as she was walking to the basement apartment where she lived near Ellesmere Avenue and Morrish Road.

Video surveillance captured the machete attack around 6:15 pm on Sept. 11, 2019 and it is agreed upon by Crown and defence that Thanapalasingam is the man in the video who killed Jeganathan. What the judge must decide is if he had the intent to murder.

In the video statement, Thanapalasingam tells Fernandes he’s been taking medication for the past year-and-a-half for depression, blaming it on his ex.

“I sponsored her to this country, then she left me. She lodged false allegations against me in the past and because she left me, I’m suffering depression,” Thanapalasingam explained.

When Fernandes tried to get Thanapalasingam to admit that he killed his ex-wife, he denied it. “I didn’t see her laying on the ground bloodied. I didn’t see her ever,” he said, explaining that he only remembered going to Jeganathan’s house to ask her for the money she owed him but could not remember what happened after that, claiming he was drinking alcohol and smoking marijuana before he drove to 43 Division.

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The video has been admitted as evidence for Thanapalasingam’s demeanour but the content has yet to be made admissible.

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Defence counsel Tom Pittman told the judge after the video was shown that he would like the court to order an assessment by a forensic psychiatrist as to whether Thanapalasingam is criminally responsible, in order to assess whether he knew what he did was wrong.

The testimony of Somagala Somakasan, a friend of the Thanapalsingam family, was also read in by Crown attorney Andrew Pilla. Somakasan testified at the preliminary inquiry but died a short time later.

Somakasan testified that he had met with Thanapalasingam shortly after Jeganathan left the marriage and was called in to mediate. “He was angry and he was saying, ‘I don’t want to let her go just like that.’ He was mentioning, ‘Oh I’m just going to kill her. If she’s not for me, she’s for nobody.'”

The trial will continue in the next year.

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