SINGAPORE: A man who stabbed his estranged wife 18 times in Tampines before jumping from his Punggol flat earlier this year was having "great difficulty" accepting that their marriage had broken down with little hope of reconciliation, a court heard on Friday (Oct 29).
Coroner Prem Raj ruled the death of the 42-year-old woman as an unlawful killing by her 45-year-old husband. He found the man's death a deliberate act of suicide.
CNA is not naming the man and his wife due to restrictions under the Children and Young Persons Act on publication of information relating to investigations or proceedings involving children and young people.
The court heard that the couple married in 2000 and had two daughters and a son together.
The family lived in a flat at Block 205A, Punggol Field until February 2020.
On Feb 15, 2020, the man grabbed his wife's neck and pushed her against the wall in the flat. He then released her, but repeated his actions.
This incident led to his wife leaving the matrimonial home for good, taking her three children with her, said the coroner.
The woman and the children moved in to live with her parents at Block 204, Tampines Street 21. Her husband continued to live in their Punggol flat, but began harassing and stalking his wife, sending her messages and following her as she went to work and returned home each day.
On Feb 26, 2020, the woman applied for and was granted an expedited order to restrain her husband from using family violence against her and their children.
She was also granted a personal protection order on Mar 6, 2020, ordering her husband to be restrained from using family violence against her.
About a year after she moved out from the matrimonial home, the woman was walking towards Block 206, Tampines Street 21, likely going to catch a bus to work.
At about 6.25am on Feb 10, 2021, her husband appeared from behind her with a knife. He appeared to call out to her, while beckoning her to him, said the coroner.
He then ran towards her and inflicted 18 stab wounds to her chest, back and arms, among other injuries. Eight of the chest wounds caused fatal bleeding, the court heard.
The mother of three was pronounced dead at 7.33am that same day, with her cause of death identified as stab wounds to the chest.
After attacking his wife, the man fled, removing the black long-sleeved shirt he had been wearing, before heading to his Punggol flat.
At about 6.55am, he entered his flat and barricaded himself inside by placing a cupboard and plastic chairs behind the front door.
He removed a gas cylinder from the kitchen, placed it in the master bedroom and turned on the gas. All the windows in the flat were closed, the coroner said.
The man inflicted one or more incised wounds on himself with either a knife or a chopper.
At 9.11am, with police officers already gathered at the ground floor of the block and along the corridor outside the flat, the topless man opened the bedroom window and jumped.
He landed more than 10m away from the block and was pronounced dead at Sengkang General Hospital at about 10am.
His cause of death was certified as multiple injuries consistent with a fall from height. These include fractures to the skull, spine, pelvis, sternum, ribs, arms and legs.
The coroner on Friday said the couple had not been on talking terms for some time. After the woman moved out with her children, her husband harassed her repeatedly by stalking her and calling her at her workplace and at her parents' home.
He also repeatedly sent texts to her phone and was "undeterred in his advances", despite knowing that his wife had a personal protection order against him, the coroner said.
He was also undeterred by the knowledge that his wife had commenced divorce proceedings against him. The police had also intervened on multiple occasions and there were criminal investigations against him for his conduct.
The coroner said it appeared that the man was "having great difficulty" accepting that his marriage to his wife had broken down with very little to no chance of reconciliation.
He extended his deepest condolences to the families involved.
"My thoughts are with their children especially," he said.
He will issue full findings on Monday, with some additional details on the number of counselling sessions both sides had attended.
The investigating officer on the case had told the court briefly that both parties had attended counselling, but did so separately at family service centres in Tampines and Punggol. The man had attended about 19 sessions, six of which were mandatory.
Where to get help:
Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1800 221 4444
Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222
Singapore Association for Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019
You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.