SINGAPORE: With his wedding two weeks away and no savings for it, a cleaner attacked his supervisor with a pair of grass cutters at Tanah Merah Ferry Terminal, took her gold jewellery and fled to Malaysia.
This was the account of events put forward by the prosecution on Tuesday (Sep 17), the opening of the trial against 26-year-old Malaysian Ahmad Muin Yaacob.
He is accused of stabbing his supervisor, 54-year-old widow Maimumah Awang, on Nov 24, 2016 at a store room in the terminal, before removing her jewellery, dumping her body in a drain and fleeing back to Malaysia, where he got married as planned.
DECEASED HAD CORDIAL RELATIONSHIP WITH CLEANERS, LENT ACCUSED MONEY
The court heard that Ahmad Muin worked as a cleaner at the terminal for CSP Maintenance from October 2016 for S$1,100 per month, under the supervision of Madam Maimumah.
According to the prosecution, Mdm Maimumah had a cordial relationship with the four cleaners under her care and often lent them money and bought food for them.
She had lent Ahmad Muin money as well, and allowed him to sleep overnight in the store room at the terminal as she took pity on him after learning that he had nowhere to stay at in Singapore.
However, "the accused repaid her kindness in blood", said the prosecutor.
In the weeks before the incident, CSP operations executive Roslan Tamain told Ahmad Muin that he would be terminating his employment and work permit to cut costs.
HE BEGGED AND PLEADED WITH BOSS FOR WORK
However, Ahmad Muin was due to get married in Kelantan on Dec 9, 2016, and was expected to return to Malaysia on Nov 28, 2016 to prepare for it.
He begged and pleaded with Mr Roslan to let him continue working until he found another job as he needed money to finance his wedding.
He was granted his request and began borrowing money from his colleagues and Mdm Maimumah, and successfully pleaded with Mr Roslan to continue working again when Mr Roslan asked him on Nov 22, 2016 to stop working.
Two days after this, Ahmad Muin is said to have attacked Mdm Maimumah while they were alone in the store room at the terminal.
He thrust the blade of a pair of grass cutters he held into the woman's chest, and she slumped to the ground, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan.
The woman pleaded with the cleaner not to harm or kill her, and Ahmad Muin saw that she was weak and gasping for air, alleged the prosecution.
WOMAN WAS BLEEDING, GASPING FOR AIR
He stood above her and hit her head with the grass cutters, pushing her back down with his leg when she tried to get up and striking her repeatedly on the head with the weapon.
Mdm Maimumah began bleeding from her head and was gasping for air, said the prosecution.
Ahmad Muin then took the two gold necklaces and two gold bracelets his supervisor was wearing and pulled her body to the side of the drain outside the store room.
He pushed her into the drain after removing the drain covers, the prosecution claimed, and replaced the covers as he did not want anyone to find Mdm Maimumah.
He then left the scene with the jewellery and Mdm Maimumah's Samsung Note 4 phone.
HE FLED TO MALAYSIA, PAWNED JEWELLERY, GOT MARRIED
He fled to Johor via a taxi and a bus, where he sold one of the bracelets for RM1,000 (S$330) and pawned the other jewellery for RM7,500 .
Of this, he set aside RM6,000 for dowry and gambled some of the rest. He got married as planned on Dec 9, 2016, but the Royal Malaysian Police caught up with him more than a week later.
He was taken back to Singapore and arrested for murder on Dec 19, 2016.
He later admitted that he had killed Mdm Maimumah, saying he attacked her with the grass cutters, stabbing her chest with the blades and hitting her on her head with "all (his) might" with the handle.
An autopsy report found bleeding on multiple areas of her skull, with the cause of death certified as bleeding due to a stab wound to the neck, with head injuries.
On Tuesday, Mr Roslan took the stand as the prosecution's first witness and told the court that he had known Mdm Maimumah for 14 years.
I TOLD HER NOT TO LEND THEM MONEY: DECEASED'S BOSS
"I knew she lent money to the cleaners on occasion," he said through an interpreter. "I told her before not to lend them money, but she did not listen to me."
He added that he had seen her scolding the cleaners, but that she had never raised her voice at them nor scolded them "bodoh", or stupid in Malay.
"She's called me bodoh before, but this was in a joking manner," he said.
According to him, Mdm Maimumah often wore gold jewellery including necklaces, bangles, rings on all 10 fingers and anklets.
The trial continues. The prosecution intends to lead evidence from 56 witnesses.
If found guilty of murder, he could be sentenced to death.