Greystanes man dies from carbon monoxide poisoning in bid to warm bedroom

ALL Ajanthan Navarathinam wanted was to stay safe but on a cold winter’s night he made a tragic mistake that cost him his life.

Ajanthan fled Sri Lanka in desperate circumstances with his brother Jisi three years ago, leaving behind his wife, young son and unborn daughter. The brothers boarded a leaky boat to Australia and spent months in detention centres before finally being granted a bridging visa.

On Thursday night, the pair enjoyed a barbecue with friends at their home in Greystanes before Ajanthan, 29, made a fateful decision as he tried to stay warm. Ajanthan took a frying pan containing heat beads used on the barbecue into the bedroom before going to sleep.

His distraught brother Jisi, 28, had been out visiting friends and did not realise anything was wrong until the next evening. “I touched him but he didn’t move, I grabbed him and he couldn’t talk with me,” Jisi said. “Two of my friends we took him to the hospital, but he was gone.”

Police say they believe Ajanthan suffered from carbon monoxide poisoning from the heat beads.

“I didn’t see him with that (the heat beads), even if I had seen that I didn’t know to tell him they’re dangerous,” Jisi said.

Jisi described his brother as a strong man who was never sick, who enjoyed martial arts and was always there for him. “He was always looking after me, he would always tell me I was his child,” Jisi said tears running down his face. “He was my brother, my father, my parents, everything … I can’t do anything without him, he was guiding me.”

Jisi said Ajanthan dreamt of being reunited with his family in Sri Lanka including his wife and two children, a son aged four and daughter aged two. “His younger daughter, he never met in his life,” Jisi said. “I need to bring his family here, if they see his face, that is enough for me, at least his daughter has to see his face.”

Ajanthan said he could not bear to speak to his parents about what had happened. “They said please don’t try to come back here (to Sri Lanka) … you have to live.”

Anjanthan’s death was the second fatal case of carbon monoxide poisoning this winter.


■ Often called the silent killer, carbon monoxide is a gas that you cannot see, taste or smell

■ In the home, heating and cooking equipment that burn fuel can be sources of carbon monoxide

■ Gas or charcoal grills can produce carbon monoxide and should only be used outside

■ Symptoms of carbon monoxide poisoning include headache, nausea and drowsiness.