SINGAPORE: A Bangladeshi worker was sentenced to death on Monday (Dec 14) for murdering his domestic helper girlfriend in a Geylang hotel two years ago.
Ahmed Salim, 31, was convicted of killing his girlfriend of six years after a tryst in the Golden Dragon Hotel on Dec 30, 2018, when she refused to leave another man for him.
Ahmed, who was betrothed to another woman at the time, first strangled 34-year-old Indonesian national Nurhidayati Wartono Surata with a towel. He then tied a rope around her neck in several knots and twisted her head forcefully.
He stole her valuables and left her body to be found by a receptionist later that night. An autopsy found the cause of death to be strangulation and a cervical spine injury.
Judicial Commissioner Mavis Chionh found that his actions before, during and after the killing "demonstrated premeditation, cogent planning and methodical execution".
She rejected Ahmed's partial defence of grave and sudden provocation – that the victim had humiliated him by saying: "He is better than you, he is better than you in the hotel, he is better in bed, he is better financially. If you don't believe, next week I will go with him, we’ll make a video and show you."
The judge found that the victim had said no such humiliating words. Ahmed had not mentioned these words in his multiple police statements and in his interviews with the Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist.
The allegations surfaced only one-and-a-half years after the incident, when Ahmed was providing his account of events to the defence psychiatrist.
"I find his explanations for his failure to mention the humiliating words in the police statements and to (the IMH psychiatrist) to be far-fetched," said the judge. "I agree with the prosecution that the accused's story of the humiliating words was precisely that – a story."
Even if the victim had said such words, the judge said that this was a premeditated killing, with Ahmed keeping a rope in his pants and taking it with him to the hotel and clearing his bank account beforehand.
"On the totality of the evidence ... I find that the accused had decided even before Dec 30, 2018, that he would kill the deceased so long as she refused to leave her new boyfriend and to get back together with him," said Judicial Commissioner Chionh.
Ahmed had also made several admissions in his police statements that showed his premeditated plan to kill the victim.
In his testimony at trial, led by defence lawyers Eugene Thuraisingam, Chooi Jing Yen and Hamzah Malik, Ahmed said he considered the victim to be his wife, even though they were not married.
He was diagnosed with adjustment disorder at the time of the offence, but no contributory link was found between this disorder and the crime.
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