Singapore

Man who went on ‘revenge attack’ on trial for murder

He bought a knife and attacked the victim after their confrontation 14 minutes earlier

A confrontation between two men at a Geylang coffee shop escalated into a fight that ended with rag-and-bone man Toh Sia Guan running away from the scene and losing a slipper in his retreat.

The 64-year-old then went to a nearby budget shop and bought a pair of slippers and a knife.

About 14 minutes after the first fight, Toh returned to seek revenge on coffee shop helper Goh Eng Thiam, 52.

Toh rushed towards the younger man, sparking a second fight that ended with Mr Goh being knifed multiple times, including a fatal stab wound on his upper arm that went through a major blood vessel.

Yesterday, Toh, now 67, went on trial in the High Court to contest a charge of murdering Mr Goh at the coffee shop in Lorong 23 Geylang. If convicted, he faces life imprisonment or the death sentence.

"I did not kill anyone," he said in court in Mandarin.

Prosecutors, however, contend that from the circumstances leading up to the second fight, closed-circuit television footage and medical evidence, it was clear that Toh had intended to stab Mr Goh. This included intentionally inflicting the fatal wound, which was sufficient in the ordinary course of nature to cause death.

"This was a vicious and violent revenge attack with a knife, which resulted in death," said the opening statement of the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lee.

The court heard that on the morning of July 9, 2016, Toh stopped his bicycle outside the coffee shop and felt that Mr Goh, who was having breakfast inside, was staring at him.

Toh then got down from his bike, and the two men came to blows.

During the one-minute fight, Mr Goh used Toh's own bike to hit him. Toh retaliated by hitting the back of Mr Goh's head with a wooden stick which he grabbed from a parked lorry.

Toh lost his grip on the stick, and they traded blows with their bare hands before the older man fled.

Mr Goh then went to a back alley to clean himself up, made a phone call and walked back to the main road.

But Toh returned armed with a knife and charged towards Mr Goh, who was stabbed in the right upper arm, the scalp and the chest. His face was also sliced and his hands were cut when he tried to defend himself.

The fight lasted two minutes, and Toh left the scene with his shirt stained with blood and again with only one slipper.

Meanwhile, Mr Goh lay down on the road and rested his head on the kerb, while passers-by called for the police and ambulance. He was pronounced dead at the scene.

Toh, who is defended by assigned lawyer Wong Seow Pin, is likely to argue that he did not inflict the fatal wound, did not have the intention to cause the fatal wound, or was acting in self defence. However, the prosecution contends that these defences are "unsustainable".

The trial continues.

COURT & CRIME