Singapore

Life term for man who tried to have sex with nurse after killing her

A man who strangled a nurse after she told him she was seeing other men, then tried to have sex with her corpse, has been sentenced to life imprisonment.

Boh Soon Ho, 51, a cafeteria worker, was convicted on Friday of murdering Miss Zhang Huaxiang, 28, at his rented Circuit Road room on the afternoon of March 21, 2016, by strangling her with a towel.

Boh, a Malaysian, had never been physically intimate with Miss Zhang in the years they knew each other. But he considered the Chinese national to be his girlfriend because she fed him popcorn at the movies and sought his opinion when he went with her to shop for clothes and undergarments.

Defence counsel Eugene Thuraisingam had argued that Boh should be convicted on a reduced charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, on grounds that the man had lost self-control as a result of grave and sudden provocation.

But High Court judge Pang Khang Chau found that the provocation was not grave enough to warrant a defence against murder.

Prosecutors sought a life sentence for Boh. He will be appealing against the conviction, Mr Thuraisingam said.

Boh and Miss Zhang got to know each other sometime in 2011 or 2012, when she was working part-time at a staff cafeteria while studying nursing.

He had never asked her to be his girlfriend, felt too "embarrassed" to hold her hand or kiss her, and his proposal of marriage was met with silence.

In early 2016, he suspected she was seeing someone else and spied on her.

On March 18, 2016, he saw her leaving her block with a man in a taxi. He felt jealous and believed that she was cheating on him. Boh then invited her to his place for a steamboat lunch on March 21.

He tried to have sex with her, but she rejected his advances. He tried to force himself on her, putting an armlock around her neck, but she put up a fierce struggle.

When he confronted her about the man who was with her, she told him that she had gone out with the man several times. She also told Boh that her former boyfriend had come to visit her from China and it was normal for them to be intimate.

On hearing this, Boh became furious. He took a bath towel, looped it around her neck and pulled it for about two minutes until there was no sign of life.

Boh left Singapore the next morning.On April 4, 2016, Boh was arrested by the Malaysian police and was brought back to Singapore the next day.

COURT & CRIME