SINGAPORE - A Bangladeshi painter, who strangled his Indonesian girlfriend after she refused to leave a new man she was seeing, told the High Court on Tuesday (Sept 22) that he and the victim had promised, at a mosque, to marry each other.
Ahmed Salim, 31, had even put a ring on her finger at a party with his friends in 2017, an event that was captured on a photo in his mobile phone and shown to the court.
"I treated her as my wife, I never looked at any other woman... the clothes she wore, the things she had, were bought with my money," he said through a Bengali interpreter. "Whatever a husband gives to his wife, I did the same."
Ahmed is on trial for murdering his girlfriend of six years, domestic worker Nurhidayati Wartono Surata, 34, in a room at the Golden Dragon Hotel in Geylang on the evening of Dec 30, 2018.
Prosecutors accuse him of intending to kill the woman.
In statements recorded by the police after his arrest, Ahmed said he decided to kill the woman after he found out about her new boyfriend on Dec 9, 2018.
He also told police that he killed her with a rope because it was easy to keep in his pocket, compared to sharp weapons like knives which are prohibited from being carried in public.
The defence contends that his mental responsibility for the killing was reduced due to a psychiatric disorder and that he had been provoked.
Taking the stand on Tuesday, Ahmed said he had been angry with the woman for cheating on him many times but he let it go because he loved her.
The breaking point came when she told him that her new boyfriend was better in bed than him, and he strangled her with a towel from the hotel. He then removed the towel and wound the rope around her neck.
Ahmed broke down when he was asked by his lawyer Chooi Jing Yen to describe his mental state when his police statements were taken.
He said he knew that he will be hanged. "I also want to be hanged. She has died and I also want to die. I don't want to live. Everything is finished for me," he said.
When Judicial Commissioner Mavis Chionh asked who was "she", Ahmed started crying and replied: "The person who died, I don't want to say her name."
Ahmed broke down again when he told the court that when he saw the female investigating officer who was taking his statement, he was reminded of his dead girlfriend.
"When I saw her, I hated myself so much that because of a woman, I destroyed my life, I destroyed that person. I came to Singapore and I destroyed everything."
He said he confessed to murdering the victim because he wanted "everything done fast" and wanted the female officer to leave the room as quickly as possible.
Asked by Mr Chooi to explain what he meant when he said he wanted to kill the victim, Ahmed said he was referring to the internal dialogue he was having with himself.
He said: "I was so angry. I was telling myself, what should I do, should I slap her, should I kill her? What is the correct way to handle this?"
The trial continues.
If convicted, Ahmed faces the mandatory death penalty.