A 73-year-old psychiatric outpatient at a public hospital was arrested on suspicion of killing her husband with a meat cleaver at their home in a Hong Kong public housing estate on Thursday.
The 69-year-old man was asleep when the attack took place in the 22nd-floor of Kwai Yiu House, at Lai Yiu Estate in Kwai Chung, at around 4.30am. The couple’s 40-year-old daughter was sleeping in the living room at the time.
Police believe the elderly woman had got the cleaver from the kitchen and used it to strike her husband in the head as he slept in the bedroom. The daughter was woken up by her father’s shouts for help, and called police.
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“The man managed to pin his wife on the floor and snatched the meat cleaver before officers arrived,” said Chief Inspector Wong Sun-lok, of the Kwai Tsing district crime squad.
He said the elderly man suffered at least six cuts to the head and lost consciousness while being taken to Princess Margaret Hospital. He died in hospital shortly before 5.45am.
Officers arrested his wife on suspicion of the murder and sent her to the same hospital for a medical check-up.
A police source said initial investigation showed the woman had dealt with mental illness for many years, and recently suspected her husband of having a lover.
According to the force, there had been no report of domestic violence involving the family, which had lived in the estate for more than 30 years.
Wong said police believed the attack was linked to the mental state of the suspect, adding that officers were also looking into other possibilities.
He said the woman had experienced depression and schizophrenia for more than 10 years, and was an outpatient at Kwai Chung Hospital’s psychiatry department. “She needed to attend regular consultations in hospital and take medication regularly,” he said. Her last consultation was on February 8.
The chief inspector said the woman had never been involved in any violent incident or attack before.
As of 1pm, the suspect was still being held for questioning and had not been charged. Detectives from the Kwai Tsing district crime squad are handling the case.
Police said an autopsy would be carried out.
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