Court classifies case of elderly man found dead near BKE as 'misadventure'

Mr Ow Lew Bin was found dead in a drain by the Bukit Timah Expressway.
Mr Ow Lew Bin was found dead in a drain by the Bukit Timah Expressway.PHOTO: WANBAO

SINGAPORE - More than a week after he went missing in Marsiling in June last year, an elderly man was found dead in a drain near some vegetation by the Bukit Timah Expressway (BKE) just 600m away from the Woodlands Checkpoint.

On Wednesday, the 77-year-old man's death was found to be "an unfortunate misadventure", due to an accidental fall into the metre-deep drain.

The Coroner's Court heard that man, Mr Ow Lew Bin, alias, Ho Lew Bin, was last seen by his wife at their Marsiling home on the afternoon of June 5 last year.

He told his wife that he was going to Woodlands Centre Road to buy 4D, but did not return home.

The next day, Mr Ow's son made a missing person's report.

On June 17, a grass-cutting and landscape maintenance worker found Mr Ow's body and called the police. Mr Ow was found with his personal effects intact; his identity had to be ascertained by DNA analysis due to the state of advanced decomposition.

The court heard that Mr Ow had been observed to be behaving oddly before he went missing. He would stand by the side of the road and shout at passing cars, and got lost while travelling between familiar places.

Mr Ow did not seek any medical attention, and there was no family history of dementia or Alzheimer's disease.

He was also prone to losing his balance and suffering from falls after consuming alcohol.

And he was known to drink alcohol on his way to buy 4D.

State Coroner Marvin Bay said there was no basis to suspect foul play.

"Given the fact that Mr Ow was found in a one-metre deep drain, along with the complete absence of any suicidal intent on his part, his previously observed cognitive confusion, and also his being prone to fall upon stumbling, I would be of the view that his death was by the manner of an accidental fall into the drain," he said.