"It was like I was in a trance. I hit him. I do not know."
Packiam Ramanathan, aged 73, of Newham, east London, was jailed for two years and four months at the Old Bailey on Friday, April 5, 2019, for beating her “control freak” husband to death.
Disabled Kanagusabi Ramanathan was battered by his wife with a wooden pole after he treated her like a slave.
Ramanathan, who is a German citizen of Sri Lankan descent, went into a trance and beat her husband to death in his bed after he threw a stick at her.
Mr Ramanathan had treated his wife “like a servant”, used “filthy language”, and was abusive and controlling in their home.
He also exerted financial control and constantly accused her of having an affair with a fishmonger who called her “darling”.
On September 21, 2018, paramedics found the former shopkeeper dead in his bedroom after his wife told a neighbour that she hit him. A blood-stained wooden stick was found in a cupboard.
Prosecutor Sally O’Neill QC said that there had been money-related arguments and Kanagusabi’s wife had become “very angry” at finding out her husband had written to Sri Lankan police. He accused her brother of theft and fraud.
The defendant spoke about the years of bullying and abusive behaviour by her husband.
Mrs Ramanathan said: “It was like I was in a trance. I hit him. I do not know. I did not know what I was doing. I could not feel this.
“I remember him saying don’t hit me. I remember I hit him.
“I lost control at that time. I did not plan anything. I’m not a person who would do such a thing. I don’t know how I did it. For me, I still feel like somebody else did it.”
Mrs Ramanathan is frail and suffers from diabetes. She was described as a “wonderful person” who was “quiet, reserved and upstanding”.
Stephen Kamlish QC, defending Mrs Ramanathan, said:
“To say she is a good person is an understatement. She is a truly decent person.
“She has been in a real prison with her husband, a prison of cultural design, for 36 years.”
“She has been tried for a murder she did not commit which she admitted from the outset was loss of control.
“She now has to face a battle to remain in this country. She is in fear of going back to Sri Lanka and people in Sri Lanka finding out.”
Mrs Ramanathan admitted to manslaughter and was cleared of murder.
Judge Anuja Dhire QC stated that she was a “good person” as she sentenced her.
She explained that her husband was a “control freak” who physically and verbally abused her and subjected her to “coercive and controlling behaviour”.
Detective Sergeant Anthony Atkin said: “The jury considered the evidence placed before them and felt that this was a sad case whereby Packiam Ramanathan had killed her husband Kanagusabi.
“This was a tragic case whereby an elderly, vulnerable man lost his life and the circumstances surrounding how and why needed to be put to a jury in order that they could listen to Packiam’s account and test this against the evidence.”
Packiam Ramanathan was jailed for two years and four months after having spent 194 days in custody. She faces being deported to Germany, where she has no family.