Singapore

Circuit Road murder: Accused said he spent money on nurse but got 'nothing'

Man who allegedly strangled nurse in Circuit Road murder was 'considering options and exercising judgement' says psychiatrist

A man who strangled a 28-year-old nurse in a jealous rage and tried to have sex with her corpse told police after his arrest that he spent money on her for years but ended up with "nothing", the High Court heard yesterday.

Boh Soon Ho, 51, is on trial for murdering Chinese national Zhang Huaxiang in the bedroom he rented in Circuit Road on March 21, 2016, after she rejected his sexual advances and told him about her relationships with other men.

The Malaysian cafeteria worker considered Ms Zhang, a former colleague, to be his girlfriend, even though they had never been physically intimate.

He admitted in police statements that on the day he killed her, he became angry on hearing she was going out with another man and was still in contact with her former boyfriend in China.

"I questioned myself why did I provide for her and spend money on her for the past four to five years and yet I ended up with nothing," he said in a statement recorded on April 5, 2016, after he was brought back from Malaysia.

Boh said that as these thoughts were running through his mind, he took a blue towel hanging on the door, walked to the mirror and contemplated for a while. "I told myself if I were to strangle Huaxiang, it would be the end of me," he said.

Boh said he then walked behind her, coiled the towel around her neck and strangled her while he looked away.

Yesterday, asked for his opinion on Boh's account to the police, Institute of Mental Health forensic psychiatrist Stephen Phang said the accused was in a "cool, deliberate, contemplative" state of mind before he strangled the victim.

"He was considering options and exercising judgment," said Dr Phang, testifying on the second day of the trial.

Dr Phang, who interviewed Boh and others who knew him, said the accused was not suffering from any mental disorder or mental illness.

In the immediate aftermath of the killing, he was able to make plans to flee to his hometown of Melaka, to phone his landlord to ascertain that he would not be coming to the flat that night, and to go out to buy a suitcase and collect his salary.

Boh had described to the psychiatrist in detail the acts he carried out on Ms Zhang after strangling her, saying he felt curious because he had never seen her body before.

"His self-confessed sexualised acts with the deceased's body are clearly indicative that he was purposeful in his pursuits for personal pleasure," Dr Phang said in his report to the court.

Boh repeatedly maintained to Dr Phang that he had acted in a moment of impulse and anger.

Dr Phang said anger was a normal human reaction in the light of Ms Zhang's revelations to Boh.

Justice Pang Khang Chau, noting the consensus that Boh had been "mistaken" about the status of his relationship with Ms Zhang, asked if he could be delusional. Dr Phang said there was no clinical basis for such a finding. The trial continues.

COURT & CRIME