Mum and daughter in double deaths 'always fighting'
Elderly woman found dead in flat with stab wounds while daughter's body found six floors down. Neighbour says...
For more than 10 years, they lived under one roof, but led separate lives.
And their relationship was tempestuous.
The mother and daughter often quarrelled - over who should be the head of the household, who owned their Ang Mo Kio flat. Even over food.
But early yesterday, something went terribly wrong. A neighbour heard shouts coming from their four-room flat around midnight.
A few hours later, the body of Madam Andrea Tay, 51, was found at the foot of Block 105, Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4. She is believed to have fallen to her death.
Her mother, Madam Rosaline Lim, 75, was found dead in their sixth-storey flat. She is believed to have suffered multiple stab wounds on her upper body.
The New Paper understands that Madam Tay's daughter, Germaine, who is in her late teens, was home at the time of the incidents and called the police.
Knives were recovered from the scene, said a police spokesman.
He said the police received a call at about 4.45am requesting for assistance.
They have classified the case as unnatural deaths. Investigations are ongoing, but TNP understands they are not looking at any suspects.
A neighbour who lives on the fifth floor said that in their 10 years of living together, mother and daughter were seldom on good terms.
The 40-year-old housewife, who wanted to be known only as Ms Lina, told TNP that Madam Lim had lived with her parents in the flat until their deaths.
Her daughter and granddaughter moved into the flat after Madam Tay's divorce, Ms Lina said.
After Madam Lim's mother died about 10 years ago, trouble began between her and Madam Tay.
Ms Lina said they often bickered about the flat.
"Quarrelling was very common between mother and daughter," she said
"(Madam Tay) would chase (Madam Lim) out and say 'This is my home'."
Madam Lim would retort, insisting that the flat was hers.
According to Inland Revenue Authority of Singapore records, Madam Lim and Madam Tay were listed as co-owners of the flat.
Ms Lina said they would also squabble over petty things.
"Madam Tay would tell her mother, 'When you cook something, don't feed it to my daughter' or 'Don't put this thing here, this is my place'," she said.
When TNP visited the flat, dried blood could be seen at the gap below the front door.
Blood splatters were also seen on the walls and metal racks used to hang laundry at the third and fourth storeys.
A resident at the fourth storey, who was cleaning her laundry rack with a hose, said she heard the sound of something hitting the ground a little after 5am. Other residents also said they heard the same sound.
The retiree, 63, who wanted to be known as Mrs Ang, said she looked out of her window and was startled to see a body lying at the foot of the block.
"It was horrifying," she said.
Madam Tay was believed to have been dismembered after hitting the external metal laundry racks during her fall.
Mrs Ang said she was earlier woken up by the sound of someone knocking the door of Madam Tay's flat at about 4am.
"I heard a man shouting in English, 'Open the door, open the door'."
She did not know who he was or if he had entered the flat.
Member of Parliament for Ang Mo Kio GRC, Mr Inderjit Singh, told TNP over the phone that he had been informed of the deaths.
Mr Singh, who is in London, said: "It is unfortunate and sad that this happened and I would like the police to quickly investigate so that we know exactly what happened."
Asked about recent crimes in the area, Mr Singh added: "We monitor crime statistics every month and we do not have a major problem. My residents have not told me they don't feel safe."
Madam Tay would tell her mother, 'When you cook something, don't feed it to my daughter' or 'Don't put this thing here, this is my place'.
- A neighbour, Ms Lina, who said the mother and daughter often argued
She seldom spoke about her problems
Those who knew Madam Rosaline Lim remember her as a pious woman who frequently helped out with cooking and washing duties in church.
The 75-year-old, known to be a private person who seldom spoke about her problems, was found dead in her flat yesterday.
The news shocked church friends and neighbours, many of whom painted a picture of her as a slight woman who kept a low profile.
She is believed to have been working at a clinic, but was better known as an active parishioner at the Catholic Church of Christ the King in Ang Mo Kio.
The day before her death, Madam Lim had returned to her home of 30 years after mass in the evening.
She was with close friend and fellow churchgoer Madam Agnes Ho, 79.
"I've known her for more than 10 years from church. She never complained about anything. She was very humble. I could see that she had some troubles after her mother passed away (about 10 years ago)," Madam Ho said.
Madam Lim had told Madam Ho and another churchgoer that she would prepare braised pork buns for them the next day.
The churchgoer, who declined to be named, said: "She was always in the background. She does the work that others don't want to do."
Yesterday, Madam Ho heard from a friend about a death in Madam Lim's block. When she heard which unit it was in, Madam Ho suspected it could be her friend.
She was visibly shaken when she found out about Madam Lim's death.
Madam Lim had hosted to her Neighbourhood Christian Community (NCC), opening up her flat to church members for a rosary devotion service, Madam Ho said.
A leader in her NCC, accountant Danny Sagaram, 74, had attended the service at her home. He has known Madam Lim for over 30 years.
Mr Sagaram, who last saw her on May 31, said: "We met her several times in May for prayers at our churchgoers' houses as well as hers.
"When we called her, she would always join in our activities and we would go together as a group. I'm just shocked that she's gone."
He said that Madam Lim's granddaughter, whom they know as Germaine (inset, in blue), would sometimes attend the prayers.
Her daughter, Madam Andrea Tay, did not join them for services and the NCC hardly spoke to her, he added.
Neighbours said Madam Lim and Madam Tay were friendly, often greeting them at the corridors or lift lobby.
- Ng Jun Sen
PREVIOUS CASES AT ANG MO KIO AVENUE 4
WHERE: Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 block
WHAT: A suspected drug trafficker and a runner were arrested by the Central Narcotics Bureau (CNB). The CNB raided a flat in the block and recovered drugs weighing about 950g. It was believed to be heroin, with a street value of nearly $100,000.
WHERE: Ang Mo Kio Avenue 4 block
WHAT: A scholarship holder, 26, from the Defence Science Organisation was ordered to undergo psychological treatment after police found 228 bras at his flat that he could not account for during his arrest last year. He was diagnosed with having a fetish for female underwear by an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) psychiatrist.
WHERE: Block 628 Market and Food Centre
WHAT: A man in his 50s was attacked by another man with a chopper. He suffered a large slash wound on his right arm and several wounds on his back. Police arrested a man in his 40s who owned a drinks stall at the market. He was later charged with voluntarily causing hurt with a dangerous weapon.
WHERE: Park facing Block 641
WHAT: A man, 20, was slashed by his cousin and a friend in broad daylight.
He suffered serious injuries on his legs and left arm while trying to shield himself from what he described as a "watermelon knife".
WHERE: Block 641
WHAT: A man, 39, broke into an eighth-storey flat and was caught after trying to escape by scaling down the side of the block using curtains. He was sentenced to five years of corrective training and 12 strokes of the cane for housebreaking and theft last September.
Money problems and relationships can heighten tensions
Money issues and difficult relations with in-laws are the most common reasons adult children and their elderly parents argue, said a counsellor The New Paper spoke to.
Ms Petrine Lim, 36, a principal social worker at Fei Yue Family Service Centre (Yew Tee), said: "For the elderly who come to us, it is most often the case that they have financial difficulties, like not receiving enough support from their children."
As for the children, they visit counsellors after run-ins with their in-laws. These issues can range from having different parenting styles, and even problems with living together.
Ms Lim, who has more than a decade of counselling experience, added: "These disputes are left simmering and unresolved over time, which can result in worst-case scenarios like an elderly parent being chased out of the home."
- Lim Min Zhang