Coroner: Man killed wife, then fell from condo

Madam Ly Thi Thu Trang's wake on May 3. On April 30, her body was found at the foot of her condo block in Geylang as she fell from height from the building.
Madam Ly Thi Thu Trang's wake on May 3. On April 30, her body was found at the foot of her condo block in Geylang as she fell from height from the building.PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO

He seemed to be stalking her before the incident, and had been arrested for offences against her

A Singaporean killed his estranged Vietnamese wife before falling to his own death from the eighth storey of a condominium in Geylang on April 30, two days before their divorce was to be finalised.

In an inquiry into the couple's death yesterday, State Coroner Marvin Bay said Uber driver Cheung Thiam Teng, 43, had committed the "unlawful killing" of Madam Ly Thi Thu Trang, 30, with whom he had a "violent and tumultuous" marriage.

Mr Cheung appeared to have been stalking his wife, who was living alone at the Silverscape condominium in Lorong 32 Geylang, said the coroner.

At around 11.30am on April 30, Mr Cheung let himself into the premises by reaching through a side gate to press a release button.

Madam Ly later fell from height from the building and was pronounced dead in Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) at around 2pm. Mr Cheung jumped after a stand-off with the authorities and died in TTSH about an hour later.

Coroner Bay said among Madam Ly's injuries was bruising on her right wrist that was consistent with the cable tie found on it, believed to have been used to restrain her.

There was also an abrasion on her back caused by impact from a long object, consistent with that which might have been inflicted by a crowbar found in her bedroom.

He added: "Madam Ly's sad demise calls attention to the need to take acts of stalking with the utmost seriousness, especially in the presence of acrimonious antecedent bad blood between the involved parties.

"It also highlights the desirability of hardening the security processes and facilities of condominium premises, which include identifying vulnerabilities, such as the one seen here, which allowed an intruder... to (carry out) his malicious and sinister intent."

The couple first met while Madam Ly was studying in Singapore in 2005 and were married two years later. They had two children.

In May last year, Mr Cheung was said to have discovered his wife receiving posts on her Facebook page with allegedly explicit content, and that she had male friends. Madam Ly denied the accusations.

On Sept 1 last year, he was arrested for offences that included wrongfully confining and voluntarily causing hurt to her.

Mr Cheung was later diagnosed with major depressive disorder. For these offences, he was sentenced in March to a week-long short detention order and issued a mandatory treatment order for a year to address his mental condition.

After Madam Ly left the home they shared, Mr Cheung would drive to her condo and loiter about there, according to her friend, Mr Tong Choon Peng.

The coroner said: "Mr Tong would spot Mr Cheung near the condominium at a frequency of about once a week. Mr Cheung would usually wait in his car, but sometimes leave to walk around the perimeter of the condominium."

Mr Cheung finally slipped into the premises on April 30 this year and Madam Ly called the police at around noon that day, stating that someone had been threatening to kill her. A police officer deployed to the scene later spotted her lying at the foot of the condominium block, still breathing but unresponsive.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2017, with the headline 'Coroner: Man killed wife, then fell from condo'. Print Edition | Subscribe