SINGAPORE - A 41-year-old Singaporean man who suffocated his 32-year-old Vietnamese girlfriend to death in his Ang Mo Kio flat in November 2014 was on Monday (March 14) sentenced to 9-and-a-half years' jail and three strokes of the cane.
Jackson Lim Hou Peng admitted that he killed Ms Tran Cam Ny, who worked as a KTV lounge singer, dancer and hostess, during an attempt to calm her down when she became hysterical after she took drugs with him at his flat.
Worried that her shouts will alert the neighbours to call the police, which would lead to both of them getting into trouble for taking drugs, Lim covered her face and mouth with a blanket to stop her from screaming.
Lim pleaded guilty on Monday to a charge of culpable homicide without intention to cause death as well as a charge of consuming methamphetamine, commonly known as Ice. He was given 4½ years for culpable homicide and the mandatory minimum of five years' jail and three strokes of the cane for the drug charge.
In sentencing Lim, Justice Tay Yong Kwang said: "This case demonstrates how taking illegal drugs can sometimes lead to very sad and fatal consequences which were never intended."
The judge advised Lim, who has drug antecedents, not to go back to drugs again after he is released from prison.
The court heard that Lim and Ms Tran were in a relationship but were married to other people. Lim is estranged from his wife who lives in Vietnam, said his lawyer.
On the night of Nov 19, 2014, Ms Tran stayed over at Lim's one-room rental flat and called two of her friends to join them. Lim started smoking Ice and Ms Tran joined him.
Shortly after, Ms Tran started quarrelling with Lim, accusing him of spending the money that she gave him on other women. He left the bedroom but she continued arguing with him. The couple exchanged blows before they were stopped by Ms Tran's friends, who pulled her into the room.
When she continued shouting, Lim went into the room and slapped and punched her. At this point, her friends left the flat.
But Ms Tran would not stop shouting even after Lim hit her repeatedly so he pressed a blanket over her mouth and face with both hands.
After he realised that she was motionless, he called his father and a friend for help before calling the emergency hotline.
While waiting for civil defence officers to arrive, he performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation on her as instructed by the call operator. But his efforts were unsuccessful and she was pronounced dead by paramedics at the scene.
Lim was arrested by the police on the same day.
The maximum punishment for culpable homicide without any intention to cause death is 10 years' jail and caning and a fine.