Singapore

Life sentence for retiree who fatally stabbed ex-wife at ITE

69-year-old man wrote letters to daughter, sister, friend and police before killing victim in 2018

Weeks before he fatally stabbed his former wife in a carpark at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) College Central campus, retiree Seet Cher Hng wrote in a note: "She has made me the best I can be, to be a killer."

The 69-year-old was yesterday sentenced to life imprisonment.

He was convicted of a reduced murder charge by the High Court last week, after he indicated he would not be contesting the charge.

It was revealed in court yesterday that Seet had penned several letters - addressed to his daughter, sister, a friend and the police - before the fatal confrontation with Ms Low Hwee Geok, 56.

The notes were read out by Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun, in response to a claim in Seet's mitigation plea that he intended only to negotiate the return of his monies that day.

The DPP said the letters conveyed a "palpable sense of resignation, finality and fatality".

"They show... a man who had finally screwed his courage to the sticking place after years of prevarication."

In mitigation, Seet's lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong, aired his client's grievances over his financial disputes with his former wife following their divorce in 2011.

Mr Wong said Seet "spent many years trying to persuade and reason" with Ms Low so that he can recover his retirement funds and spend his final years "with some dignity".

He said Seet hoped to seek forgiveness from his daughter and hoped "to be able to see her face and hear her voice some day".

But Justice Aedit Abdullah said the matter raised in mitigation was irrelevant to sentencing.

"Furthermore, the victim was killed and cannot respond to the assertions made against her," said the judge.

"What is relevant in the mitigation are the factors going to the choice between capital punishment and life imprisonment."

Justice Aedit cited the Court of Appeal ruling that the death penalty will be imposed where the killing shows conduct that would outrage the feelings of the community through viciousness or blatant disregard for human life.

In the present case, he said: "The killing of the victim is to be deplored, and whatever grievances the accused may have had against her would not by any means justify, excuse or even lessen the seriousness of the killing or his criminal responsibility.

"Nonetheless, there was nothing here of the nature that to my mind would call for the imposition of the death penalty."

At the time of the murder, Seet was retired from his job at ITE Headquarters and had been relying on monthly Central Provident Fund payouts.

Ms Low was divisional director of the examinations division at ITE College Central.

The couple married on April 7, 1993, and were divorced on June 13, 2011. They have a daughter together.

Seet, who is twice divorced, believed he did not receive his fair share of the sales proceeds of a condominium unit in Corporation Road which the couple had jointly purchased while married.

COURT & CRIME