Odd-job worker who fatally bashed niece with hammer jailed 10 years 8 months

A woman holds a sign in support of Saudia Arabian blogger Raif Badawi during a march on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada on Jan 29, 2015, calling for Badawi's release. --PHOTO: EPA
A woman holds a sign in support of Saudia Arabian blogger Raif Badawi during a march on Parliament Hill in Ottawa, Canada on Jan 29, 2015, calling for Badawi's release. --PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - A 29-year-old odd-job worker repeatedly bludgeoned his niece to death with a hammer in their Beach Road flat, then meticulously wrapped her body and placed air fresheners near it.

When the body of 30-year-old Lydia Wati Mohamed Yahya was found nine months later, it was so badly decomposed that an autopsy could not determine the cause of death.

On Friday, Mohamed Firdaus Mohamed Hanafiah was jailed 10 years and eight months after he pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable homicide and two unrelated drug charges.

The High Court heard that Firdaus and his girlfriend Siti Salihah Salam, 23, lived with Ms Lydia in the flat.

One afternoon in March 2012, Firdaus became angry with his niece after she refused to eat some food he had prepared. He started slapping and punching her and assaulted her in the toilet for an hour.

After the first round of assault, he told her to wash up. But he started shouting at her again when he checked on her half an hour later.

Firdaus then took a hammer from his tool bag in the living room and returned to the toilet to resume his assault.

He also told his girlfriend, who had given birth to their son a few days ago, to stay where she was and to keep quiet.

After the victim breathed her last, he wrapped her body with a blanket, a shower curtain, a black trash bag and a quilt cover. He placed air fresheners near the body and left the flat with his girlfriend and infant son.

But five days after the body was found, the police tracked him down and arrested him.

selinal@sph.com.sg