Nearly a year after a man was run over by a train along the tracks between Kallang and Lavender MRT station, an inquiry into the incident has ruled the case a suicide.
The man was 31-year-old Bangladeshi Ahmed Faisal.
Investigations into the incident found that on the day of his death, he had failed to turn up for a court hearing which would have revealed the verdict for previous charges of drug consumption.
He had also consumed drugs before his death, and state coroner Adam Nakhoda said in a report seen by Mothership that it was possible he had been under the influence when he climbed onto the MRT tracks.
On Feb. 25, 2021, Mothership noticed a Pasir Ris-bound train had halted in the middle of the tracks between Kallang MRT and Lavender MRT.
Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel were observed walking onto the tracks towards the train, and numerous SCDF personnel and police officers were spotted on the platform at Kallang MRT station as well.
Train services between Bugis and Aljunied were disrupted.
Police and SMRT later confirmed that night that a person had been pronounced dead on the track.
Train operator saw what looked like human hand on MRT tracks
At around 9:04pm, a train operator was travelling from Lavender MRT station to Kallang MRT station when he heard a very loud thumping sound coming from the train's undercarriage.
The operator applied the emergency breaks, but was unsure what he had collided into.
After reporting what happened to the SMRT chief controller overseeing that line, the operator was instructed to travel in manual mode to Kallang MRT station, to look out for anything unusual on the track, and to inspect the train later.
The operator found nothing unusual.
However, subsequent train operators, as well as the Lavender MRT station master on the train, noticed what appeared to be a "backpack" or "black trash bag" in the middle of the track.
One operator also spotted what looked like a human hand.
The "backpack" was later confirmed to be a human body.
Officers found Faisal's body lying about 150m away from Kallang MRT station, and the coroner ruled his cause of death as a result of multiple catastrophic injuries from the train collision.
Additionally, a toxicological report revealed that the victim's body had methamphetamine, amphetamine and eutylone at the time of his death.
How he accessed the MRT track
Police deduced that Faisal had climbed onto the track at a point where the track crosses the Kallang River via a bridge, right after it emerges from underground.
Although there is fencing present to prevent unauthorised access onto the track, police observed that the barbed wire topping the fence had been pushed downwards until the individual wire strands were compressed together.
This would have required a reasonable amount of force, the police said.
It was thus likely that Faisal had climbed up the fencing, pushed down the barbed wire and accessed the eastbound MRT track at this point.
After the incident, the fencing was further fortified with more barbed wire.
Arrested twice for taking drugs
Prior to his death, Faisal was unemployed. He previously worked at HCH General Services.
In November 2018, he was arrested at a roadblock and charged with consuming methamphetamine and norketamine.
He continued working until his permit expired in November 2019, and was then granted a Special Pass to remain in Singapore pending the conclusion of his criminal case.
Faisal claimed trial and was scheduled to appear in court on Feb. 25, 2021.
Days earlier on Feb. 19, Faisal's younger brother, Hasan Md Mehedi, visited him at his house and found him smoking drugs from a pipe.
When questioned, Faisal started to shout at Hasan, who called the police. Faisal was arrested once again, where he was found to have consumed amphetamine.
He was then released on station bail pending the completion of investigations.
Friend noticed him behaving oddly
A day before he was to appear in court on Feb. 25, Faisal met up with a friend, Darren Lee Hong, and visited his house.
The pair shared an interest in personal mobility devices, and Faisal would occasionally stay over at Lee's house.
Lee noted that Faisal was behaving oddly — he was "acting strangely", staring into space, and was "not actively responsive" when Lee spoke to him.
Lee left him to rest in the guest room. The next morning, Lee found Faisal sitting on the floor of the room, and the latter shared that he had not slept at all.
Faisal was looking at a painting of a woman hung in the guest room and kept mumbling to himself, and did not respond when Lee asked if he was okay.
Over the past few days, Hasan had also reminded Faisal several times about his court hearing.
Despite the reminders, Faisal did not turn up at court on Feb. 25.
It is uncertain where he went after that, and he was last captured by CCTVs leaving his house, dressed in the same attire he was found in after he died.
Told friend he was depressed
Hasan shared that his brother had never expressed any suicidal ideations, and did not mention any unhappiness or problems with his work before his death.
However, Faisal had told Lee when he visited his home that he was depressed as he missed his family in Bangladesh, and had wanted to "find a girlfriend", but was unable to do so.
The state coroner also pointed out several observations that led to his conclusion that Faisal had committed suicide.
He said it was unusual for Faisal to miss his court appearance on Feb. 25 as he had dutifully appeared for all previous hearings.
Additionally, it was unusual for Faisal to leave his home without his wallet and handphone, which he typically brought along. This could indicate that he had had the intention to end his life.
These observations are coupled with Lee's recount of Faisal's odd behaviour at his house.
Could have been afraid of court verdict
Faisal did not leave behind a suicide note, but the state coroner opined that the pressure and stress of the impending verdict for his first drug consumption case was weighing on him, as he could have faced imprisonment and deportation from Singapore.
Additionally, his second arrest meant that he could have been imprisoned for even longer.
The state coroner said:
"It was possible that the prospect of a sentence of imprisonment, coupled with his loneliness, and that he was homesick were too overwhelming for Mr Faisal that he decided to take his own life."
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Top photo by Julia Yeo