Man who jumped into Rochor Canal 'harassed woman, threw bench and punched churchgoer'

A man who was arrested after entering the Rochor Canal on Saturday afternoon (Sep 29) had been trying to flee after allegedly molesting a woman in the Church of Our Lady of Lourdes.

Stomp previously reported on a video circulating online that showed the man being apprehended by a police officer in the waters of the canal and putting up a struggle.

(Story continues after video)

The parish priest, Father Michael Sitaram, 63, told The New Paper that a woman was praying at the open-air grotto in the church compound when the man, who appeared to be drunk, sat down next to her.

He then reached out and touched her shoulder, arms and back before she got up and ran out in a panic.

Father Michael was walking back to his office after holding a baptism service when he was alerted to the incident.

"A churchgoer who was also at the grotto ran to tell me that a man was trying to grope a woman," he said.

"I quickly ran into the office to call the police."

Meanwhile, another churchgoer who was walking to the multi-purpose hall for lunch after attending the baptism service in the main church saw the commotion.

When the churchgoer tried to apprehend the man, he became violent, Father Michael said.

"The man was shouting loudly and trying to take off his shirt. He was also making aggressive gestures at the churchgoer," he added.

"The man picked up a wooden bench and threw it at the churchgoer, who managed to evade it. He then punched the churchgoer, causing his spectacles to fly off."

The churchgoer managed to pin the man down to the ground but relaxed his grip when the man complained the ground was too hot.

The man then took the opportunity to break free and ran out of the church compound before falling into a 1.5m-deep drain outside.

Father Michael said: "The man was trying to climb over the railing when he fell into the drain. There was some blood. He then started walking back and forth in the drain and lay down in there for awhile."

When the police arrived, they entered the drain to apprehend him but the man fled along the drain and entered Rochor Canal where he swam under a tunnel.

He tried to swim away as a police officer went in after him.

The police told Stomp that the 26-year-old man was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital where he was subsequently arrested for using abusive words against a public servant, intentional harassment and drunkenness in public places.

Police investigations are ongoing.

Read the full story at The New Paper.

The New Paper

Get The New Paper for more stories.