Vietnamese woman who was killed was ‘troubled’ by relationship with married boyfriend
Jail, cane for man who suffocated girlfriend after taking drugs.
They smoked drugs, then got into a fierce fight over money.
It ended with him sitting on his girlfriend's chest and smothering her with a blanket in the early hours of Nov 20, 2014.
Yesterday, Jackson Lim Hou Peng, 41, an odd-job labourer, was jailed for 9½ years and ordered to be given three strokes of the cane for culpable homicide not amounting to murder, as well as drug consumption.
The couple were in his Ang Mo Kio two-room rental flat when the incident happened.
Court papers said Lim, who is married to another woman, was in a relationship with Ms Tran Cam Ny, 32, a Vietnamese national.
In mitigation, Lim's lawyer, Ms Jennifer Lim, told the court that the offence was not premeditated and the couple were in a loving relationship.
She said that just hours before they fought, Ms Tran allegedly proposed marriage to Lim.
The nature of their relationship, however, was disputed by Ms Tran's close friend of five years, who insisted that what they had was nothing more than a fling.
The friend, who wanted to be known only as Mr Chew, told The New Paper in a phone interview after the hearing yesterday that Ms Tran was troubled by her relationship with Lim.
"I last spoke to her a week before the incident and she told me she did not want to go back to Jackson (Lim) because he did not treat her well," said Mr Chew, 37, a limousine driver.
"How could it be that she suddenly would ask him to marry her?"
He said Ms Tran came here from Vietnam in the early 2000s so she could earn money for her parents and eight siblings back home.
Mr Chew got to know Ms Tran, who was working as a hostess at a club, in 2009.
"She was a very nice girl who worked very hard. She was someone who was always very concerned with her appearance, and wanted to look good in front of people," he said.
He said she was a fan of designer goods and was often seen carrying branded bags.
Ms Tran and Lim had met at a club, he said.
They immediately hit it off and soon entered into a relationship, even though Lim was married to another woman.
The relationship was not a healthy one, said Mr Chew, alleging that Lim would still take other women to his flat.
Lim's neighbours told TNP in November 2014 that groups of women in their 20s, wearing revealing clothes, heavy make-up and stilettos, were a common sight at Lim's unit.
Mr Chew also said Ms Tran and Lim did drugs, particularly methamphetamine, commonly known as "Ice".
"I was concerned for her, but what could I do? It would have been very hard to convince her not to do so. It was her choice," he said.
In November 2014, Ms Tran's sister told TNP that Ms Tran had been married twice to Singaporean men and had a nine-year-old daughter.
Mr Chew said he was unsure of the status of Ms Tran's marriage or the whereabouts of her daughter.
He added he was "very disappointed" with Lim's sentence - which entailed 4½ years' jail for the culpable homicide charge and five years' jail for the drug charge.
"Shouldn't it be at least life imprisonment? He took her life," he said.
Mr Chew later relayed the news to Ms Tran's family in Vietnam and said they have yet to come to terms with her death.
"They lost her and their financial situation now is not good. They don't deserve this," he said.
He pinned her down and straddled her chest
DEAD: Ms Tran Cam Ny’s body being removed from the flat.
The couple got into a heated argument after smoking drugs.
Jackson Lim Hou Peng and his girlfriend, Ms Tran Cam Ny, then started exchanging blows.
In a bid to quieten Ms Tran, Lim pinned her to the floor, repeatedly hit her face and smothered her with a blanket.
He stopped after noticing that she was bleeding from the mouth.
After that, Ms Tran, 32, became motionless and was later pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Court papers said that on Nov 20, 2014, Ms Tran was staying over at Lim's Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 Housing Board flat and invited her friend, Ms Vu Thi Thanh Thao, who asked another woman over for company.
Ms Vu and her friend arrived at the flat after 2am, and the three women chatted in the bedroom while Lim smoked methamphetamine, or "Ice", in the living room.
Ms Than would occasionally join him to smoke the drug before the four retired to the bedroom to sleep.
Shortly after, Ms Tran began to cry and argue with Lim, claiming he gave her money away to other women.
Seeing that she would not stop crying, he went to the living room to smoke more drugs.
Ms Tran joined him and began quarrelling again, before the duo exchanged blows.
The friends stopped the fight and pulled Ms Tran into the bedroom.
Lim went back into the bedroom to deal with Ms Tran, who had become hysterical and was shouting.
It was about 8.15am when Ms Vu and her friend decided to leave the apartment out of fear.
After that, Ms Tran began assaulting Lim, who pinned her down and sat on her chest, straddling her.
He then hit her repeatedly across the face before pressing a blanket on her face.
Ms Tran eventually became motionless.
After trying to call his friend and father for help, Lim eventually called the Singapore Civil Defence Force and followed an officer's instructions to perform cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on Ms Tran.
Paramedics pronounced her dead at 12.32pm, and Lim, who suffered abrasions on his face, neck and back, was arrested that day.
He later tested positive for drugs.
Yesterday, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said in his sentencing remarks that this was a case of illegal drugs leading to sad and fatal consequences.
Justice Tay told Lim, who has a history of drug offences dating back to 2001, that he hoped this was the last time he would take drugs.
One other charge of possessing utensils used for consuming drugs was taken into consideration for sentencing.
DEFENCE LAWYER: HE AGREED TO MARRY VICTIM
It was a love story gone wrong, said defence lawyer Jennifer Lim in mitigation yesterday.
Ms Lim said her client, Jackson Lim Hou Peng, 41, had been living with his girlfriend, Ms Tran Cam Ny, 32, a Vietnamese national, at his Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 rental flat for more than a year.
She said they were in a loving relationship.
Lim, whose estranged wife left him to live in Vietnam, even took Ms Tran to meet his father half a year before the incident, said Ms Lim.
On the morning of Nov 20, 2014, Ms Lim said Ms Tran had asked the accused to marry her and he agreed.
Ms Lim also said her client lost his father, who divorced his mother when he was young, to colon cancer in October last year.
She added that Lim was genuinely remorseful and cooperated with the police.