Nine years' jail, 12 strokes of the cane for robber whose 88-year-old victim died

Muhammad Fazrie Mohamad Ridzuan (above) pleaded guilty to hurting Madam Lee in the robbery on April 12, 2014.
Muhammad Fazrie Mohamad Ridzuan (above) pleaded guilty to hurting Madam Lee in the robbery on April 12, 2014. PHOTO: SHIN MIN

SINGAPORE - A 22-year-old jobless man followed a weak and frail 88-year-old woman back to her block of flats after he noticed her buying food at a Teck Whye coffee shop in April 2014.

Muhammad Fazrie Mohamad Ridzuan got into the lift with Madam Lee Ping Yeng, greeted her and uttered "Sorry Auntie" before snatching the purse she was holding. She lost her balance and fell out of the lift, hitting the back of her head on the floor.

Meanwhile, Fazrie found $22 inside the purse, which he later handed to his girlfriend, who spent the money on cigarettes and beverages.

Neighbours who found the elderly woman lying motionless called for an ambulance. But Madam Lee succumbed to her head injuries and died in hospital three days later.

On Monday (Feb 22), Fazrie was jailed for nine years and ordered to be caned 12 strokes after he pleaded guilty to hurting Madam Lee in the robbery on April 12, 2014. The whole incident was caught on camera by the lift's surveillance camera and Fazrie was arrested on April 28.

Two other charges, of stealing from a hotel locker room and of possession of a knuckle duster, were taken into consideration.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Min Ping sought a jail term of 10 years, pointing to how Fazrie had preyed on the victim, knowing she was frail and elderly.

Fazrie's lawyer, Mr James Masih, asked for six years, arguing that his client never intended to injure the victim as he had planned to only snatch the purse and run off.

Justice Choo Han Teck agreed with the DPP's sentencing submissions, but given that this was Fazrie's first offence as an adult, the judge imposed a jail term of nine years.

Fazrie has previous convictions for housebreaking and theft.

On Monday, more than a dozen of Madam Lee's family members were in court but they declined to comment.

selinal@sph.com.sg