Singapore

Couple who tortured flatmate beat victim for taking too long in shower

The couple who tortured their flatmate until she died had abused the trust of a vulnerable victim who treated them as her family.

When Ms Annie Ee Yu Lian suffered in silence, it emboldened the couple to escalate the abuse, said the judge.

The woman in the couple, Tan Hui Zhen, suffered from depression and borderline personality disorder, but Justice Hoo Sheau Peng gave this little weight.

Ms Ee, 26, met Tan when they were teenagers. She moved into Tan and Pua's flat in 2013 after she was estranged from her family.

The beatings in the Woodlands flat began in August 2014, when Tan blamed Ms Ee for a bedbug infestation.

They began beating her for "misdeeds" such as lying or taking too long in the shower.

They would assault her with a 1kg roll of shrink wrap, targeting her buttocks, where the injuries would be less conspicuous. She was beaten almost daily.

On the day of the fatal assault on April 12, 2015, Ms Ee cut her wrist with scissors but Tan took them away.

Weak with multiple fractures, covered in bruises and blisters, short of breath and incontinent, Ms Ee could not help but urinate on the floor, which sparked a vicious beating that night.

By morning, she was dead.

Tan eventually called the police. She told them Ms Ee was clumsy and often injured herself.

Ms Ee died of a rare cause known as acute fat embolism. As a result of the blunt force trauma to her buttocks, fatty tissue entered her bloodstream and travelled to her lungs, creating a blockage of the blood vessels that led to progressive cardiac and respiratory failure.

COURT & CRIME