After killing a grandmother he had known for a decade, Singaporean P. Mageswaran went back home to Johor Baru and pawned her jewellery for RM26,300 (S$10,200).
He then used the cash to pay for his new flat, buy gifts for his wife, and treat strangers to food and beer.
Eight days later, questions from his wife about the money led to his arrest. Madam Parameswary Thimparayan, a Malaysian, had asked him where he got the money from. When he said it was a loan from his employer, she insisted they go to Singapore to speak to his employer.
Mageswaran, 49, who rode pillion on his wife's motorcycle into Singapore, was arrested at Woodlands Checkpoint.
Yesterday, the former car washer was found guilty of culpable homicide with intention to cause death.
He had choked and used a pillow to suffocate Madam Kanne Lactmy, 62, at her Yishun Street 81 flat in December 2013. Sentencing was adjourned to June 2. He faces the maximum sentence of life imprisonment and caning or up to 20 years' jail with caning/or fine.
Mageswaran had worked for Madam Lactmy's older son and was invited to family gatherings.
On the morning of Dec 9, 2013, he desperately needed RM5,000 for an instalment payment on his new flat. He asked his wife for a document on the purchase, lying that he wanted to get a loan from his employer.
The then jobless Mageswaran crossed the Causeway and arrived at Madam Lactmy's flat at about 8.35am. He asked to borrow $2,000 to $3,000 from her, but she said she did not have such large sums.
When she went to brush her teeth, Mageswaran searched the three bedrooms for valuables and found a box with jewellery and several pawnshop tickets. Madam Lactmy caught him and demanded that he return the box, but Mageswaran pleaded with her for it.
When she said she would call her son, Mageswaran pushed her to the floor and pressed a pillow over her face with his right hand, while he choked her with his left.
He released his grip on her neck after about four minutes but continued smothering her for another six to seven minutes until she stopped struggling. He left with the box, wearing his jacket with the hood up and shielding his face from surveillance cameras.
Madam Lactmy's body was found by a neighbour's maid. No foul play was suspected initially but bruises on her neck prompted further investigation.
The prosecution said Mages- waran had intended to silence Madam Lactmy. But the defence said he had no intention of killing her. His assigned lawyer, Mr Derek Kang, argued that he had covered her face with the pillow to stop her from shouting and believed she was alive when he left.
The defence also argued that psychiatric evidence points to Mageswaran suffering from a frontal lobe disorder, which affected his decision-making capabilities.
Mr Kang also said his client should be convicted of culpable homicide without intention to kill, which carries a maximum of 10 years' jail and caning and a fine.