Singapore

Accused denies affair with victim in murder trial

He claims victim was the one who pestered him and he was trying to help her 'according to scripture'

She was not my type.

That was how a laundry shop manager denied he was having an affair with a woman he is accused of murdering after strangling her in his wife's car, then burning her body.

Instead, 50-year-old Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock, had told psychiatrist Kenneth Koh of the Institute of Mental Health that it was the victim, 31-year-old Cui Yajie, who had feelings for him, and that it was a one-sided relationship.

This emerged in the High Court yesterday when Dr Koh took the stand on the second day of Khoo's trial for Ms Cui's murder on July 12, 2016. He later burned her body at Lim Chu Kang Lane 8.

The prosecution's case is that Khoo wanted to silence the Chinese national, who had told her parents and colleagues that they were lovers, to stop her from exposing him for cheating her after taking $20,000 from her to purportedly invest in gold.

Dr Koh said Khoo denied he had an extramarital affair with Ms Cui, though he admitted he has had affairs with other women. "I'm a Gemini man, how to control," Khoo told the psychiatrist.

But Khoo also told Dr Koh that Ms Cui was his neighbour's girlfriend and he got to know her only after she created a commotion at their condominium.

Khoo claimed he was trying to help Ms Cui "according to scripture" - he bought her presents, a birthday cake and flowers.

"When people come to me for help, I don't say no," he told the psychiatrist.

She was the one who pestered him to go on a night fishing trip and was a "greedy woman" who handed him the $20,000 for investments.

He said she threatened to expose him on Facebook and to his employer about his criminal record and past affairs.

Giving an account of the killing to the psychiatrist, Khoo said he had picked up Ms Cui at Joo Koon MRT station in his wife's car. He drove to Gardens by the Bay where he parked along the road to talk to her, but she began cursing his family.

"I sympathised with her too much, that was my mistake," he told Dr Koh.

A struggle ensued after Ms Cui hit his forearm, Khoo said, and he grabbed her neck and pushed her away. Khoo said the woman stopped moving but he did not dare resuscitate her.

Dr Koh also testified he interviewed Khoo and his wife again after a report from a private psychiatrist diagnosed the accused with intermittent explosive disorder. The defence is relying on the report to establish that Khoo had a mental illness that diminished his responsibility for the killing.

Ms Cui's mother, Madam Liu Ruiping, who came from China for the trial, also took the stand yesterday. She said Ms Cui told her and her husband, when she went to Tianjin in June 2016, about her relationship with a 48-year-old man who had a family laundry business.

Madam Liu said they were shocked he was so much older than her. She said her husband disapproved, while she told her daughter to get to know the man better. The trial continues.

COURT & CRIME