Kovan double murder trial

Prosecution uses bloody trail to make its case

Kovan double murder suspect, Iskandar Rahmat (top), being taken to court in a 2013 photo. He disagreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran (above), insisting that he had wanted to simply grab the money and flee from the house.
Kovan double murder suspect, Iskandar Rahmat (above), being taken to court in a 2013 photo. He disagreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran, insisting that he had wanted to simply grab the money and flee from the house.PHOTOS: ST FILE
Kovan double murder suspect, Iskandar Rahmat (top), being taken to court in a 2013 photo. He disagreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran (above), insisting that he had wanted to simply grab the money and flee from the house.
Kovan double murder suspect, Iskandar Rahmat, being taken to court in a 2013 photo. He disagreed with Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran (above), insisting that he had wanted to simply grab the money and flee from the house.PHOTOS: ST FILE

It disputes defendant's account as trial closes, saying he had lain in wait for second victim

Prosecutors wrapped up the Kovan double murder trial yesterday by putting forward their own theory - based largely on blood evidence - of how the accused, Iskandar Rahmat, killed a father and son in a robbery attempt two years ago.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Prem Raj Prabakaran suggested that after slashing 67-year-old car workshop owner Tan Boon Sin to death, the policeman had walked around the Hillside Drive house to search for Mr Tan's valuables.

And contrary to Iskandar's claim that he was caught unawares when Mr Tan's 42-year-old son Chee Heong entered the house and came charging at him, the DPP suggested that the accused was lying in wait behind the main door as he knew that someone was coming.

Iskandar, who is fighting for his life on two counts of murder, calmly disagreed with the prosecution's version and stuck to his own account.

His testimony is that on July 10, 2013, desperate to resolve his financial woes, he had carried out a plan to trick Mr Tan into taking out his valuables from his safe deposit box.

He knew Mr Tan had money in the box as he was the initial investigating officer when the elderly man made a police report after $35,000 of his money was stolen.

Iskandar insisted that he wanted to simply grab the money and flee from the house, but the plan went wrong when the elderly man discovered the ruse and attacked him with a knife.

Iskandar said that he managed to snatch the knife away, suffering two cuts to his right hand in the process. He said he swung his arm wildly at Mr Tan in a bid to get away from the elderly man, who bit him and was tugging at him.

Just as Mr Tan fell to the floor, the son came in, shouted "Pa!" and came at him, throwing a punch, said Iskandar.

He said he retaliated, not realising he had a knife in his hand, and continued swinging his arms at the younger Mr Tan, who was stopping him from making his getaway.

Iskandar said that after the younger Mr Tan staggered out of the house, he walked to the toilet at the utility room to get a towel to wrap around his bleeding hand.

He said he did not know that the son had collapsed behind his father's Toyota Camry parked in the driveway. Iskandar, who made his getaway in the car, also said he was unaware that the body was dragged a kilometre to Kovan MRT station.

Yesterday, DPP Prem rubbished Iskandar's account. He pointed to how Mr Tan's car was covered with Iskandar's blood while "not a single drop" of his blood was found on the way to the toilet.

The DPP concluded that Iskandar did not hurt his hand in the scuffle with the older Mr Tan.

The trail of bloody footprints to the toilet was not from his search for a towel, but from him searching the house for the money after killing Mr Tan , contended the DPP.

Iskandar disagreed, saying his blood may not have dripped to the floor as he was cradling his hand.

The DPP also showed a photograph of Iskandar's sock prints behind the main door.

The DPP noted that Mr Tan had phoned his son twice while he was in the house with Iskandar and the cop, who was paying attention, knew that someone was coming. "You stood behind the door because you wanted to launch a surprise attack at the person," said the DPP.

Iskandar disagreed. He said the prints could be due to him picking up his things after killing both men.

The DPP also pointed to blood in the driveway to support the eyewitness account of a neighbour's maid that Iskandar had walked around the back of the Camry. He accused Iskandar of reversing the car even though he knew the man's body was there. Iskandar disagreed.

The DPP also pointed out the number of injuries on the two men.

The older Mr Tan, who was twice Iskandar's age and had knee problems, suffered 23 knife wounds. The younger victim, who was 30kg lighter than Iskandar, had 17 injuries. Iskandar said he could not remember how he inflicted the injuries as "everything happened very fast".

The DPP contended that Iskandar brought along a knife to rob Mr Tan and attacked the elderly man when he refused to hand over the money.

The DPP noted that Iskandar, who was trained in police unarmed tactics, was taught how to block and push away a knife-wielding assailant. But he replied: "If there's an immediate threat to our life, we take out our gun and fire."

The trial, which came to a close after eight days of hearing, has been adjourned for oral submissions on Nov 23.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 12, 2015, with the headline 'Prosecution uses bloody trail to make its case'. Print Edition | Subscribe