Yelling, sounds of dishes smashing and then a woman's frightened cries.
Several residents of Block 406 in Ang Mo Kio Avenue 10 told The Straits Times that they heard a loud commotion early yesterday morning, hours before a man living on the ninth floor was arrested for the alleged murder of a Vietnamese woman found dead in his bedroom.
Police, who said they "received a call for assistance" at about 12.30pm, are understood to have found the suspect, a 40-year-old Singaporean man, in his two-room flat with the dead woman upon their arrival.
The accused, known to neighbours simply as "Jack", did not appear to put up a struggle when he was led away by the police with his hands bound. He had abrasions on his left cheek and forehead, and remained silent even as crowds gathered to watch.
About two dozen policemen and investigative personnel lined the cordoned corridor on the ninth floor. Several more in uniform were stationed at the void deck. It was only some three hours after the suspect's arrest that the victim's body was carried out of the flat by undertakers.
For many in the neighbourhood, largely populated by families and elderly folk, news of the incident was shocking.
Jack, known for his heavily tattooed arms, had always been cordial and never caused trouble, they said. He kept a low profile in his "many years" of renting the unit, said several long-time neighbours - no one seemed to know what he did for a living, nor his relationship with the woman.
He frequented the nearby coffee shop, ordering mostly soft drinks and an occasional beer, but sat drinking alone. He had, however, over the years brought various women back to his flat before dawn, noted several neighbours.
These women were typically in their 20s, of slim build and attractive looking, appearing to be of Thai or Vietnamese descent, they said. The women, dressed in high heels, accompanied Jack out late at night, sometimes drunk, said a neighbour, Miss Susan Ng, a retiree living a few doors down.
"Once, the police were even called in because the girls made too much noise," she added.
In the recent months leading up to yesterday's suspected murder, make-up artist Ina Haneysha, who lives in the unit directly below Jack's, said she had increasingly heard quarrelling between him and unidentified women.
He is expected to be charged with murder tomorrow.
A weapon has yet to be discovered, nor have any other suspects been identified or arrested. Police said investigations are ongoing.