Singapore

Man on trial for murder of his father may have 'unsound mind' defence

Accused of killing his 75-year-old father in 2015, he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia

Left alone with his elderly father for three hours in their Bedok North flat, an "unstable" unemployed man allegedly attacked the 75-year-old, who was later found lying in a pool of blood.

As paramedics attended to the victim, the man, Tan Kok Meng, covered in dried blood, suddenly got up from the sofa where he had been sitting in a daze.

Ignoring the pleas of the paramedics, he choked his father while mumbling "I want him to die" in Mandarin for a minute or so, then went back to sit on the sofa.

The victim, Mr Tan Ah Hin, stopped breathing in the ambulance and was pronounced dead at Changi General Hospital.

The account emerged in the High Court yesterday as Tan, 46, went on trial on a charge of murder for the death of his father on Nov 13, 2015.

The prosecution has accused him of inflicting multiple blows on the victim's face and strangling him.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Daphne Lim told the court there is some evidence showing that Tan would qualify for the defence of unsoundness of mind.

Two psychiatrists from the Institute of Mental Health have diagnosed him with schizophrenia. One of them said Tan was also in a state of acute drug intoxication as he had taken methamphetamine then.

ORDER

The DPP sought an order for Tan to be detained at the President's pleasure. This means that if the court finds that Tan had committed the alleged acts, he will be acquitted due to his mental incapacity but will be confined in a psychiatric institution, prison or some other place of safe custody.

There is no minimum period of detention and the mental state of the detainee is reviewed regularly until he is suitable for discharge.

Tan is defended by Mr Favian Kang and Mr Nichol Yeo.

The DPP told the court that on Nov 13, 2015, the younger Tan was not his usual self.

His mother, Madam Toh Meow Siang, noted that he had been looking dazed for the previous two days and had been pacing up and down in the flat.

Before Madam Toh left the flat at about 2.30pm, she told her husband not to allow their son to go out.

About three hours later, she returned to find her husband breathing heavily, lying in a pool of blood under his head. Tan, who was seated on the sofa, did not respond to her questions.

Madam Toh left the flat to get help from the neighbours and when she returned, she shouted at Tan, asking why he had killed his father.

Tan then walked over to the older man, sat on his abdomen and placed his hands on his father's upper chest before she pulled him away.

The paramedics arrived soon after. One of them, Ms Zaneta Lee, testified that while she was inserting a device to clear the victim's airway, Tan suddenly started choking his father.

She said she shouted at Tan to stop but he ignored her.

Police officers arrived shortly after and arrested Tan.

He told them that he used his bare hands to attack his father, that they had a strained relationship and that the older man had called him "good for nothing".

An autopsy found the older Tan died from strangulation and blood aspiration.

COURT & CRIME