Woman jailed for attempting to kill mum

The cries for help from a 65-year-old woman saved her from her daughter's attempt to kill her.

Yesterday, the 43-year-old daughter, Tina Goh, was jailed for six months for criminal intimidation.

The former Singapore Airlines stewardess, who was heavily in debt and harassed by loan sharks, had heard voices in her depressed state telling her to kill herself and her mother Chen Tong Siew.

The unemployed woman grabbed Madam Chen's leg and tried to lift her over the railing along the fifth-floor common corridor at Village Hotel Changi last Oct 17. The pair had checked into the hotel for two days to get away from loan sharks.

Madam Chen struggled to break free and repeatedly shouted "jiu ming" - Mandarin for help. The hotel's general manager heard the commotion and managed to separate them. Police were called in.

Defence counsel K. Bala Chandran said what Goh needed was psychiatric help for her depression and suicidal thoughts. More importantly, she had to repair her relationship with her mother, with whom she previously had a very close relationship.

District Judge Mathew Joseph told Goh, who cried through yesterday's hearing, to reconcile with her mother, undergo treatment and put the whole incident behind her.

Taking into account Goh's adjustment disorder, he said it was a very unfortunate case.

Goh had borrowed from loan sharks and estimates that with interest, the total debt was around $300,000. She had also gambled to fund her expenses.

She and her mother, who were living together in a three-room Housing Board flat in Serangoon, were supposed to check out from the hotel on the day of the incident.

After breakfast, they were walking along the common corridor when Goh suddenly pointed to one of the rooms at one end of the corridor.

When the victim turned and looked, Goh grabbed one of her legs and tried to lift her over the railing, with the intent to cause death.

Goh could have been jailed for up to 10 years and/or fined for criminal intimidation. Her sentence was backdated to Oct 18. Her elder sister will make arrangements to house her after her release.

elena@sph.com.sg