Singaporean man given life sentence for murdering his wife while on holiday in the UK
Fong Soong Hert pleaded guilty to murdering his wife in Newcastle after initially contesting the charge.
LONDON: A Singaporean man was on Friday (Aug 12) sentenced to life imprisonment for murdering his wife in Newscastle while on holiday in the United Kingdom.
Fong Soong Hert, also known as Alan Fong, must serve 12-and-a-half years in prison before being considered for parole.
The minimum sentence in the UK for murder is life imprisonment.
When the trial began on Aug 1, Fong's legal team argued that he should be found guilty of the manslaughter of his wife Pek Ying Ling, known as Evelyn Pek, on the grounds of diminished responsibility.
The 51-year-old changed his plea to guilty of murder on Tuesday, telling the Newcastle Crown Court that he accepts “proper criminal liability” for his actions.
Fong's wife was found dead at the County Aparthotel in Newcastle on Dec 6, 2021.
During the trial, the court heard that Fong and his wife were in the UK on holiday following a trip to Dubai and Europe.
They had planned to tour Scotland, but Fong suffered a bad fall while in the Isle of Skye. He tripped, lost his step and fell down a steep embankment.
Fong was given a mix of painkillers by paramedics before being taken to hospital to be examined. Days later, the couple travelled to Newcastle with their son Alonzo Fong and checked into the hotel.
The court heard a recording of a call from Alonzo to emergency services at about 7am on Dec 6. He was heard saying: “Okay, he told me, I think they had some argument of some sort and then I think he lost it.”
During the trial, a pathologist who carried out the post-mortem told the court that 11 bruises and haemorrhages were visible on the victim’s chin, shoulders, arms and legs.
Fong, who took to the stand on Monday, described his marriage as “wonderful” and “peaceful”. He claimed he could not remember any details of killing his wife.
The couple’s three sons were in the public gallery when their father admitted to the charges on Tuesday.
In a joint statement, they said: “We are heartbroken after losing our Mum, but now we just want to provide our Dad with the support he needs.”
After the sentence, Newcastle's Northumbria Police said: "All our thoughts remain with the couple’s three sons who have been left devastated beyond belief by the events of Dec 6 last year.
"Once again we want to publicly thank them for their composure and the dignity they have shown in the face of such tragedy.
"We will continue to support them in any way we can and we ask that everyone respects their privacy at this extremely difficult time."