SINGAPORE: A man who killed a woman he desired and tried to have sex with her corpse was found guilty of murder on Friday (Feb 7).
Boh Soon Ho, 51, was sentenced to life imprisonment for strangling 28-year-old nurse Zhang Huaxiang with a bath towel in 2016.
READ: 'I was very, very angry': Man accused of killing woman describes rage at discovering 2 other men in her life
He had considered the woman his girlfriend, after “dating” her for years.
He killed her in his rented flat after inviting her over for steamboat on Mar 21, 2016.
This was after she rejected his advances for sex and told him it was normal for her to be intimate with her ex-boyfriend.
After he killed her, he stripped her, took nude photos of her and tried to have sex with her corpse.
Justice Pang Khang Chau accepted the prosecution’s case that the murder charge was made out.
He rejected the defence’s arguments that Boh had been provoked and that he had diminished responsibility.
While he accepted that Boh had lost self-control, he did not find that the provocation was grave enough to warrant a defence.
The prosecutors had submitted for life imprisonment, while defence lawyers Eugene Thuraisingam, Chooi Jing Yen and Hamza Malik argued that there was no premeditation, and that Boh was deeply remorseful.
He had been arrested in Malaysia after fleeing there, leaving the body in the room to be later discovered by his landlord.
BOH NOT AS NAIVE AS HE CLAIMS: PROSECUTION
Deputy Public Prosecutors Wong Kok Weng and Jason Chua argued that Boh and the victim were "purely platonic friends", although Boh claimed otherwise.
The defence did not challenge most of the prosecution's version of events leading up to the murder and the murder itself, contesting only the reliability of Boh's admission that he spent about five minutes contemplating killing the victim.
He admitted to strangling the woman, but claimed that it was on impulse.
After killing the victim, Boh "still wanted to satiate his sexual desires" for her, telling herself that since she had died and he had never seen her naked before, he should undress her, said prosecutors.
He removed the woman's clothes and took photos of her body, before licking it. He tried to have sex with the corpse, but could not sustain an erection.
After this, Boh "methodically made plans to flee Singapore", the prosecution said, taking the victim's phone and cash, making sure to collect his salary and leaving the corpse in his bedroom with the air-conditioner on to prevent decomposition.
The prosecutors also said Boh was not as naive as he claimed, as he had previous intimate relationships with other women.
He thus could not claim that he genuinely thought the victim regarded him as a boyfriend, as he knew her for four to five years but was never physically intimate with her.
DEFENCE TRIED TO REDUCE CHARGE TO CULPABLE HOMICIDE
The defence said the case was a tragic one where a man took the life of a woman he loved "under an avalanche of jealousy, angst and loss of self-control that was prompted by learning she was having sex with an ex-boyfriend".
Their case was that his state of mind fulfilled the defence of provocation, that he was deprived of self-control by grave and sudden provocation.
They tried to convince the judge into reducing the murder charge to one of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, for the man they said was "acknowledged as a timid, good man who has led a quiet life".
The lawyers pointed to Boh's testimony during the trial, when he said he was so angry when told it was normal for the victim to have sex with her ex-boyfriend, that it was like "a fire reached my head".
"What happened was an unfortunate case where the accused simply read too much into his relationship, developing a deep love and affection for a young woman that he felt was returned," said the defence.
"The revelation that the deceased was having sex with another man was too much for the accused to bear."
The defence told CNA that it intends to appeal against the conviction and sentence.
For murder, Boh could have been sentenced to death, or life imprisonment. He cannot be caned as he is above 50.