Elderly man jailed 5 years for trying to kill sister

An 80-year-old jobless man who tried to kill his sister at the funeral wake of another sister more than two years ago was sentenced to five years' jail yesterday.

Chan Tuck Sing had pleaded guilty in February to a charge of attempted culpable homicide for the attack on April 8, 2016.

In sentencing Chan yesterday, Justice Chua Lee Ming took into account the circumstances leading to the slashing, his old age and that his risk of committing such an offence again was assessed to be low. The sentence was backdated to April 9, 2016, when Chan was remanded into custody after giving himself up to the police.

Chan, who lived alone and had been unemployed for 15 years, used to get an allowance from his mother. After her death in 2006, his younger sister Sow Boey gave him $510 a month, from a sum of money their mother left her, the court heard. On April 6, his sister was found dead at her home.

Chan became worried about his livelihood as his source of income had been cut off.

On the first day of his sister's wake at the void deck of a block in Jurong West Street 41, he asked another sister Sow Lin, who was 69, if she would carry on giving him a monthly allowance, but she said "no". Chan spent the night thinking about the rejection and decided to kill her.

The next morning, he wrapped a chopper in a T-shirt and put it in his bag. At the wake, he saw Sow Lin at a table with her 34-year-old son and an elderly female visitor. After giving the son some money to buy him coffee in a bid to get him out of the way, Chan went to Sow Lin and started slashing her with the chopper.

She grabbed a plastic chair to fend him off but he hacked at it, pulled it away and continued to slash her. It was only when a passer-by shouted that he dropped the chopper and fled.

Chan then washed the blood off himself and took three buses to Clementi police station, where he told three officers what he did.

Psychiatrists later assessed him to be suffering from an adjustment disorder that impaired his judgment and impulse control.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 09, 2018, with the headline 'Elderly man jailed 5 years for trying to kill sister'. Print Edition | Subscribe