PENANG: A Chinese opera performer acted in a vicious and cruel manner when he killed “the woman he loved” in the safety and security of her own home, the High Court said yesterday.
In sentencing Teoh Guan Hoe to 14 years' jail, Judicial Commissioner Su Geok Yiam said the accused had, “by his own hands, taken away the life of a 41-year-old woman, whom he claimed he still loved.”
“The life of a human being is very precious. Once taken, it cannot be replaced,” said the judge, adding that the victim’s children had lost their mother.
Teoh pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of causing the death of fellow performer Lim Cheng Suan.
Teoh, 43, was originally charged with murdering Lim at her flat in Desa Wawasan, Sungai Rambai, Bukit Mertajam, on April 26, 2001, under Section 302 of the Penal Code which carries a mandatory death sentence, if convicted.
However, before the murder trial began on Tuesday, senior DPP Abdul Razak Musa tendered an amended charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, which carries a jail term of up to 20 years and a possible fine, if convicted.
Teoh also admitted to the written facts of the case and the exhibits, which included the post-mortem report, the photographs, and the sickle used to kill Lim.
Su said before passing sentence, the court had to consider public interest and the protection of society.
“The court is aware that crimes of violence against women, leading to the killing of victims, are on the increase, as reported in the newspapers of late,” she said.
She said the sentence meted out had to deter not only the accused person, but other would-be offenders as well.
“The facts show that the deceased was killed in the safety and security of her own home by the accused, who is not a stranger.
“After the killing, the accused left and locked the door. The victim’s body was only discovered two days later. By that time, it was bloated and foul-smelling,” she said.
She said the injuries inflicted on Lim, according to the post-mortem report, included multiple slash wounds on the face and neck, and a penetrating slash wound on her neck.
“The post-mortem report and the gory photos bear testimony to the seriousness of the injury. The accused had acted in a vicious and cruel manner in inflicting injuries on the deceased, who was alone at home at that time,” said Su.
On Tuesday, Teoh’s counsel Rafael Prabakaran had mitigated that Teoh and Lim had known each other since they were both 14. In later years, Teoh moved to Singapore while Lim got married and had three children.
He said when Lim’s husband passed away in 1998, she joined the opera troupe with Teoh who had returned to Malaysia. After several months, they co-habited and Teoh supported Lim and her children.
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