Dead man's daughter challenges 'no foul play' report
Ms Fion Lim incredulous at the police's findings surrounding her father's death
Tears flowed as soon she began reading the investigation report into her father's mysterious death yesterday.
But they were shed more out of disbelief than grief.
She could not believe what she had read. Ms Fion Lim, in her 30s, disagreed with the findings of the report, insisting that foul play was involved in the death of her father, Mr Lim Lay Hock, 60.
Ms Lim also questioned the role of her father's roommate, who allegedly left her injured and immobilised father on the floor of the York Hill Estate one-room unit for seven days before calling an ambulance.
Ms Lim was also frustrated by the lack of information about her father's $20,000 Rolex watch, a gold necklace and a bracelet.
Yesterday was the first time anyone in Mr Lim's family had seen a conclusive report on how he died while in a coma at Singapore General Hospital (SGH) on Dec 20 last year.
Fifteen minutes before the coroner's inquiry into her father's death began, Ms Lim, accompanied by her husband and her younger brother, was handed a copy of the police investigation report.
Their calm demeanour turned into incredulity when they started reading the findings of the police.
When the investigation officer, Station Inspector Siaw Kah Swee, later took the witness stand to present the report, Ms Lim became more agitated.
1. WHY...did roommate leave him in pain for seven days?
He had moved into the flat about six months before his death, staying with a 77-year-old roommate, said Station Insp Siaw.
The arrangement was part of the Joint Singles Scheme for HDB rental flats.
"According to police investigations, both of them are not known to each other," added Station Insp Siaw.
On the night of Nov 30, his roommate returned and found Mr Lim groaning in pain on the floor.
He also noticed that Mr Lim had injuries.
He asked Mr Lim if he needed an ambulance but Mr Lim did not respond.
Said Station Insp Siaw: "(The roommate) also asked Mr Lim to call for an ambulance using his own mobile phone as (the roommate) did not own one.
"But the deceased did not respond to him."
"The next morning, (the roommate) brought some water to pass to Mr Lim and then left him lying there."
The roommate called for an ambulance only a week later, on Dec 7, after he realised that Mr Lim was still unresponsive, said the inspector.
But why didn't he call for an ambulance sooner, Ms Lim asked the court.
"I find it weird that nothing was done while my dad had been lying in the house for seven days covered in urine and faeces, with blood all over the floor and with no response," she said.
When State Coroner Janet Wang asked if the police had questioned the roommate thoroughly with the assistance of the Criminal Investigations Department, the inspector said yes.
"We looked into all aspects of the investigation," said Station Insp Siaw. "When we first visited the unit, we checked the roommate's body to see if he had any bruises or injuries. We also checked on his background profile."
There is no evidence to suggest that the roommate was involved, he added.
2. HOW...did he get 54 wounds from a single fall?
In court, the inspector said Mr Lim had told his roommate that he was feeling breathless on the night of Nov 30.
When the roommate asked why, Mr Lim replied that he had fallen earlier while climbing up the stairs on the way home.
A pathology report stated that 54 wounds were found all over Mr Lim's body, including rib fractures, a broken collarbone and head injuries.
These injuries were also consistent with a fall, and the primary cause of death is believed to be a heart attack, stated the pathology report.
Mr Lim went into a coma before the police could begin their investigations on Dec 9 - two days after he was warded. His family was also informed of his condition that same day.
The police and his family did not get to speak to him before he died 11 days later.
"The external injuries were superficial," said the inspector. "They had no bearing on the cause of death. The rib fractures also did not cause the death."
He concluded that no foul play was involved in Mr Lim's death.
In court, Ms Lim asked that the pathologist and SGH staff who tended to her father appear in court to testify.
"I know he had a lot of injuries and I don't quite believe that all of them have got to do with one fall," she told the Inquiry.
"The police insisted that it is a fall. I'd like to hear what the pathologist has to say."
She told TNP later: "How can there be 54 wounds from a fall?"
3. WHAT...happened to his Rolex watch?
In court, Ms Lim also said she had always suspected that there was foul play.
She claimed that this was because her father's Rolex watch, gold necklace and bracelet - worth $30,000 in total - had gone missing.
She told the Inquiry: "The police had always denied (the) existence of dad's valuables. They kept asking us if we had pictures (of the valuables), but he just doesn't have the habit of taking selfies with his watch (and jewellery)."
She was also unable to provide the serial number of the Rolex watch to the police.
When questioned by the coroner about the valuables, Station Insp Siaw said checks with the watch company did not reveal anything.
Said the inspector: "We can't trace the Rolex watch or the gold jewellery. There is too little information from the next-of-kin about them."
But Ms Lim said she had witnesses who saw her father with the watch. One of them came forward after seeing her Facebook post about her father's death. (See report above.)
"My family have seen (these valuables) before. But after dad's death, those things went missing."
She told TNP that the watch was meant to be a family heirloom to be passed on to his children. He had bought it around 20 years ago and was very fond of it. She said: "He would rather borrow money from friends than sell the watch."
The coroner's inquiry will resume at a later date with more witnesses being called to the stand.
I find it weird that nothing was done while my dad had been lying in the house for seven days covered in urine and faeces, with blood all over the floor and with no response.
- Ms Fion Lim
She believes father was robbed, assaulted
In a Facebook post before yesterday's Coroner's Inquiry, Ms Fion Lim wrote that her father was the victim of a violent robbery and appealed for eyewitnesses to help find the killer.
"To the robber who assaulted my dad and caused his death, I really don't understand how you can beat up a 60-year-old man so severely and live the rest of your life," she wrote.
And she advised others to be careful: "It will be good if you can educate your old folks not to wear valuables when they are out alone."
She posted that her father's injuries triggered a heart attack and a stroke. He also contracted pneumonia before he died. Her advice to others who have been robbed: "Go (to) hospital and call police immediately after being attacked because it's easy to underestimate the injuries."
In court yesterday, Ms Lim said a witness gave her testimony after seeing the post. The witness also gave a statement that she saw Mr Lim wearing the Rolex watch last year.