I tried to stop lover from drowning herself: Cleaner

A Bangladeshi cleaner told a coroner's inquiry yesterday that he tried to stop his Indonesian lover from drowning herself in a rooftop water tank in May 2011.

But according to Mr Md Repon Mostafa, she stabbed him several times in return. In pain, he asked Ms Ruliyawati, a maid: "Why cut me?" He said that she replied: "Why stop me? I want to go in the water tank."

Her body was found submerged in the tank on top of a block of flats in Woodlands Drive 73 at 10.10am on May 16 by police. She was later pronounced dead by paramedics.

Mr Repon was arrested at the scene and initially charged with murder, but was later awarded a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

Speaking softly in Bengali, the 29-year-old cleaner yesterday recounted his affair with the 30-year-old maid, who had a husband and a four-year-old son in Indonesia.

Mr Repon had been working in Woodlands since 2005. When Ms Ruliyawati began her job with a family there in July 2010, they would exchange smiles when she took her employer's five-year-old son to school.

khush@sph.com.sg