SINGAPORE: A jealous man in a case of "unrequited" love allegedly killed the woman he desired before trying to have sex with her corpse.
Malaysian Boh Soon Ho, 51, claimed trial on Wednesday (Sep 18) to one charge of murder. Another two charges of attempting to penetrate a corpse and stealing from the dead woman have been stood down.
According to the prosecution's opening address, Boh had stalked the woman and seen her with other men before confronting her in a jealous rage three years ago.
After unsuccessfully trying to have sex with her and hearing about her intimacy with another man, the Singapore permanent resident strangled the 28-year-old nurse with a bath towel in his flat.
He then stripped her, took nude photos of her and tried to have sex with her but could not sustain an erection, the prosecution said.
After this, he fled to Malaysia until he was arrested by the Royal Malaysian Police in early April 2016 and taken back to Singapore.
The court heard that Boh got to know the woman, China national Zhang Huaxiang, in 2011 or 2012 while they were both working part-time at the staff cafeteria in Marina Bay Sands Resort.
SHE DID NOT RECIPROCATE HIS FEELINGS
Even though Boh considered Ms Zhang as his girlfriend, she did not reciprocate his feelings and they were never physically intimate, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng.
They had gone shopping and for meals together, but the woman began turning down his invitations to go out in early March 2016, and Boh grew suspicious, the prosecution said.
Feeling that Ms Zhang was distancing herself from him, Boh went to the flat opposite hers to spy on her four to five times, and saw her leaving with a man in a taxi on Mar 18, 2016.
A few days later, Boh arranged for a steamboat meal with Ms Zhang at the flat he rented.
After their lunch on Mar 21, 2016, Boh went to his bedroom and saw Ms Zhang combing her hair in front of the mirror and wanted to have sex with her, said the prosecution.
He hugged her from behind and told her that he wanted to make love to her, but she scolded him in Mandarin, saying "crazy, go away!"
When he tried to kiss her, Ms Zhang told him that she would bite off his tongue and shout for help.
He tried unsuccessfully again, locking his right arm around her neck, before confronting her about the man he had seen her with.
Ms Zhang said she had gone out with the man on four to five occasions after meeting him in Resorts World Sentosa. When Boh asked her about a man named "Tian Meng", Ms Zhang said it was her ex-boyfriend from China, and that it was normal for her to be intimate with him.
HE ALLEGEDLY STRANGLED HER, ANGERED BY HER WORDS
Boh was angered by this and wanted to kill the woman, the court heard.
He looped a bath towel around Ms Zhang's neck from behind, taking her by surprise, and strangled her, the prosecution alleged.
When there were no more signs of life from her, Boh released his grip and carried the woman's body to his face, observing that her face had turned "black", said the prosecution in its opening address.
Despite this, Boh still wanted to satiate his sexual desires for the dead woman, said the prosecutors.
"Now that the deceased was dead, she could no longer resist him and he could do to her what he earlier wanted," they said. "He told himself that 'since (she) had died and I have never seen her naked before, I should undress her'."
He then stripped down to his briefs and took off the dead woman's clothes before taking six to seven photos of her nude body and licking her.
He then tried to have sex with her but could not sustain an erection, said the prosecution.
After this, he made plans to flee the country, going through the woman's belongings and stealing her mobile phone and S$50.
He planned to get rid of the body by concealing it in his luggage and disposing it in undergrowth, but realised that he could not bend it as rigor mortis had started to set in.
He also considered chopping her body up but decided against it and left the body in the unit.
FLED TO MALAYSIA, ARRESTED BY POLICE THERE
He then fled to Malaysia and arrived at his younger sister's home in Malacca, where he told her that he had killed someone in Singapore, and that the body was still in his bedroom.
His landlord in Singapore found the body on Boh's bed on Mar 22, 2016 and called the police. Boh was arrested by Malaysian police on Apr 4 that year and taken back to Singapore the next day.
In statements given to the police, Boh admitted that he had caused Ms Zhang's death, strangling her for about two minutes with the bath towel and that he was "furious" with her.
An autopsy report concluded that Ms Zhang died from "manual compression of neck", as evidenced by bruising and an abrasion on her neck, along with internal neck injuries.
According to the prosecution's case, a forensic psychologist from the Institute of Mental Health found that Boh did not meet the criteria for intellectual disability, while a psychiatrist found that he had the mental capacity to know the nature and wrongfulness of his act.
The prosecution said that the defence, led by lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam, is likely to argue that Boh did not possess the intention to murder, or argue that he has diminished responsibility.
The trial continues, with the prosecution intending to lead evidence from 43 witnesses.
If found guilty of murder, he could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. He cannot be caned as he is above the age of 50.
The penalty for penetrating a corpse is a maximum five-year jail term, a fine, or both.
For stealing from a corpse, the maximum punishment is three years' jail and a fine.
Editor's note: An earlier version of this story reported that Boh Soon Ho claimed trial to three charges. In fact, two charges have been stood down, and Boh is claiming trial to one charge of murder. We apologise for the error.