Killing of ex-stewardess: Man to plead guilty to culpable homicide

28-year-old Neo Chun Zheng originally charged with murdering a 23-year-old former air stewardess nearly two years ago indicated yesterday that he will plead guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.
28-year-old Neo Chun Zheng originally charged with murdering a 23-year-old former air stewardess nearly two years ago indicated yesterday that he will plead guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.PHOTO: ST FILE

A 28-year-old man originally charged with murdering a 23-year-old former air stewardess nearly two years ago indicated yesterday that he will plead guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

"I plead guilty. Sorry for everything," Neo Chun Zheng told the High Court, on what was originally scheduled to be the first day of a seven-day murder trial.

The case has been adjourned to next Tuesday for his plea to be taken.

Neo is accused of killing Ms Soh Yuan Lin outside his 11th-floor flat in Boon Lay Drive on the evening of Nov 26, 2015.

Neo, who is represented by lawyer R. Thrumurgan, originally faced the death penalty or life imprisonment for murder without intention to cause death.

Yesterday, the High Court heard that the defence made representations to the prosecution last Wednesday, following which the prosecution made an offer to reduce the charge on condition of Neo's guilty plea.

He now faces a maximum punishment of life imprisonment with caning, or up to 20 years' jail with caning or a fine, for intentional culpable homicide.

Neo's family members were allowed to speak to him in court for about 20 minutes.

It was previously reported that neighbours had heard Neo and the victim arguing for about 10 minutes in the Housing Board flat where he lived with his parents and an older brother.

Police responded to a call for help at about 8.15pm and found Ms Soh lying lifeless at the scene.

She was taken to Ng Teng Fong Hospital, where she was pronounced dead about three hours later.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 11, 2017, with the headline 'Killing of ex-stewardess: Man to plead guilty to culpable homicide'. Print Edition | Subscribe