Woman on trial for fatal attack on roommate

Jiang (left) is accused of slashing and stabbing Ms Zhao (above) in a Geylang flat in 2013. The attack left Ms Zhao with a gash across her left cheek that cut a major facial artery, a gash across the back of her head that shaved off a part of her sku
Jiang (above) is accused of slashing and stabbing Ms Zhao in a Geylang flat in 2013. The attack left Ms Zhao with a gash across her left cheek that cut a major facial artery, a gash across the back of her head that shaved off a part of her skull, and a gaping wound at the back of her neck that injured her spine, among other things.PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN, TNP FILE
Jiang (left) is accused of slashing and stabbing Ms Zhao (above) in a Geylang flat in 2013. The attack left Ms Zhao with a gash across her left cheek that cut a major facial artery, a gash across the back of her head that shaved off a part of her sku
Jiang is accused of slashing and stabbing Ms Zhao (above) in a Geylang flat in 2013. The attack left Ms Zhao with a gash across her left cheek that cut a major facial artery, a gash across the back of her head that shaved off a part of her skull, and a gaping wound at the back of her neck that injured her spine, among other things.PHOTOS: NEO XIAOBIN, TNP FILE

China national accused of using knife, cleaver to kill compatriot

A woman from China allegedly slashed her roommate to death with a cleaver, attacking her repeatedly and leaving wounds on her head, face, neck and arms.

Jiang Yumei, who was 28 at the time of the attacks, is also accused of stabbing Ms Zhao Jinhua, 26, at least three times with a knife during the attack in their rented Kim Court flat, in Lorong 9 Geylang, some time between Feb 11 and Feb 12 in 2013.

The petite Jiang, now 32, went on trial for culpable homicide in the High Court yesterday. If convicted, she faces life imprisonment or up to 20 years' jail and a fine.

She was originally charged with murder but the charge was downgraded to culpable homicide before the trial started.

It is understood that the two women, both Chinese nationals, worked as karaoke hostesses.

Yesterday, the prosecution said it had evidence from 58 witnesses to prove its case against Jiang.

Senior consultant forensic pathologist Paul Chui, who conducted an autopsy on Ms Zhao, testified that there were at least 92 bruises, abrasions, slash wounds and stab wounds on the victim's body.

She bled to death from the multiple slash wounds, which were consistent with injuries caused by a cleaver, said Dr Chui.

Three stab wounds on the back of her head, neck and shoulder were likely caused by a knife instead.

He pointed out three injuries that were severe enough on their own to cause death - a gash across her left cheek that cut a major facial artery, a gash across the back of her head that ran from ear to ear and shaved off a part of her skull, and a gaping wound caused by multiple slashes overlapping one another across the back of her neck that injured her spine.

The court heard that two cleavers and a knife were found in the flat.

Jiang's assigned lawyer, Mr Leo Cheng Suan, recounted to Dr Chui Jiang's account of what happened and asked if it was consistent with the injuries he found.

According to Jiang, she was sleeping when Ms Zhao sat on her and grabbed her throat. In the darkness, Jiang said she retaliated by flipping Ms Zhao over, grabbing a knife that was in her hand and then hacking her with the weapon.

Dr Chui said, based on Jiang's version, he would expect to see more blood on her bed and the wall next to it. "You need to explain where the blood is," he said.

Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohamed Faizal told the court in his opening address that a forensic reconstruction of the events will be submitted during the trial.

He said the evidence would show that Jiang's assault on the victim was "sustained and repeated", and she had attacked Ms Zhao from behind and while she was on the floor.

The evidence will also show that Jiang had tried to clean up the scene after attacking Ms Zhao. She also threw away Ms Zhao's mobile phones, said Mr Faizal.

After the assault, Jiang was with one Jimmy Ho Voo Chan, and she told him later that day about what she had done. Mr Ho then took her to the Bukit Merah Neighbourhood Police Centre to lodge a report.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 17, 2016, with the headline 'Woman on trial for fatal attack on roommate'. Print Edition | Subscribe