Substance abuser jailed for stabbing tenant

An unemployed man with a substance use disorder stabbed himself repeatedly in the chest and neck before turning the knife on one of the three female tenants in his parents' Yishun flat.

Lay Chee Leong then pointed a knife at another tenant and threatened to detonate a bomb in the flat. There was no actual bomb.

He also threatened to fill the place with liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) before igniting the gas so that everyone in the flat would die.

The 39-year-old, who pleaded guilty to two of four charges last October, was yesterday sentenced to 61/2 years' jail.

His sentence was backdated to March 24 last year.

The court heard that at about 5.30am on March 23 last year, after stabbing himself with a 22cm-long knife, Lay barged into a room occupied by Chinese national Wang Aiyan, 27, and her two colleagues from China.

He confiscated their phones to prevent them from calling the police.

He then left the room to make a call. On his return, Lay told the women: "Since I am already like this, it does not matter if I kill another one or two."

He left again to make another call before entering the room again.

This time, he told them not to open the door for the police or he would detonate a bomb inside the flat, said Assistant Public Prosecutor Lim Yu Hui. Lay, his parents and the three tenants were in the flat at the time.

The prosecution submitted that Lay's psychiatric disorders had a "substantive contributory link" to the grievous hurt offence at the time. He had symptoms of paranoia and heard voices telling him to hurt the tenants.

The three frightened women cleaned up the bloodstains on the floor as directed, while Lay told them "not to be funny".

When he saw a light flashing on Ms Wang's phone, he thought the women had alerted the police.

"He then shouted at them to keep their palms facing up and not try anything funny or he would gas the entire house with LPG and light it up so that they would all die together," said APP Lim.

When Ms Wang nodded her head in response, Lay stabbed her on the left side of her neck before leaving the room.

APP Lim said the victims were put in fear for their lives throughout the entire episode.

Lay suffered multiple superficial stab wounds to his neck and eight stab wounds to his chest, and was discharged from hospital the same day.

Ms Wang, who had a life-threatening 1.5cm stab wound on the neck, was treated and given medical leave totalling 92 days.

The prosecution submitted that Lay's psychiatric disorders had a "substantive contributory link" to the grievous hurt offence at the time. He had symptoms of paranoia and heard voices telling him to hurt the tenants.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lee said Lay poses a danger to the public if he relapses and again abuses substances, including cough mixture.

A long period of incarceration is needed to supervise his abstinence from the substances and wean him off his dependence, said DPP Lee.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, Lay could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined, or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on February 17, 2017, with the headline 'Substance abuser jailed for stabbing tenant'. Print Edition | Subscribe