Man jailed for savage attack on girlfriend and failing to report her death

Zulkifri Said was sentenced to two years and three months in jail after admitting to five of 11 charges.
Zulkifri Said was sentenced to two years and three months in jail after admitting to five of 11 charges.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

SINGAPORE - For nearly two hours, an unemployed man punched and used a belt and clothes hangers to beat his girlfriend so severely that it resulted in her death.

But he neither sought medical treatment for her nor informed the police about her death.

Instead, Zulkifri Said, 28, and his 63-year-old mother locked up the rented flat in Banda Street, Chinatown, and took a bus in the early hours of Sept 16, 2016 to Johor Baru.

There, they stayed in a hostel until they ran out of money, a district court heard.

Meanwhile, the decomposed body of his 20-year-old girlfriend Nur Syirin Hamzah was found about a week later - on Sept 22 - after Zulkifri's neighbour called the police, complaining of a weird "rotten meat" smell coming from the flat.

On Wednesday (Aug 23), Zulkifri was sentenced to two years and three months in jail after admitting to five of 11 charges - two counts of causing hurt to his girlfriend, failing to report her death, causing hurt and threatening his former girlfriend, Ms Shahidah Zawani Phul Bahar Hussain, 26.

Seeking a sentence of at least 18 months, the prosecution said Zulkifri's utter disregard for Ms Syirin's personal safety and health was "chilling".

Describing the incorrigible and recalcitrant offender's culpability as high, Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Christina Koh said that for nearly two hours, Zulkifri hit vulnerable parts of Ms Syirin's body, to "teach" her a lesson - not to defy his order for her to leave the flat .

While Ms Syirin's cause of death could not be ascertained due to her advanced stage of decomposition, her last moments on earth must have been terrifying and painful, said the DPP.

The court heard that Ms Syirin had dumped her boyfriend Noorman Daud, who was in jail at the time, and moved in to live with Zulkifri in August 2016.

He started to abuse her by slapping and punching her.

In early September, when Zulkifri found out that Mr Noorman would be released on Sept 13, he sent him a message, through Ms Syirin's Facebook account, asking for a chance to speak to him.

On Sept 15, Zulkifri punched Ms Syirin in her chest twice after she refused to let him see her Facebook account to check if Mr Noorman had left a reply.

At about 7.30pm that day, Zulkifri's aunt called to say Mr Noorman wanted to talk to Ms Syirin. Zulkifri refused, and his aunt hounded him about it.

To avoid any trouble with Mr Noorman, Zulkifri told Ms Syirin to leave the flat, but she refused.

Angry, he punched her in the face, body and hands for five minutes and with great force.

His mother kept telling him to stop but he ignored her.

Forty minutes later, when Zulkifri received another call from his aunt, he tried to evict Ms Syirin from the flat.

After hitting her back multiple times, he took a belt and whipped her on her torso and limbs. He then took a few clothes hangers and struck her on her arms and thighs.

Ms Syirin, who was seated throughout, did not block his attacks on her or retaliate. The attack went on until 11.05pm.

She started shivering uncontrollably. Zulkifri carried her to the bed, where she held her head with her hands and could not answer his queries.

She then fell onto her side on the bed, still shivering. She suddenly toppled onto the floor. A few minutes later, Zulkifri carried her back to the bed. She cried "panas, panas" (Malay for "hot, hot") and her body began to stiffen.

When Zulkifri checked on her minutes later, she was foaming at the mouth and grinding her teeth. Her breathing was also unstable.

Initially, Zulkifri had wanted to call for an ambulance but changed his mind to avoid being questioned about her injuries.

He then dressed her in a gown and headscarf to hide her injuries.

She stopped breathing at 11.45pm.

Zulkifri placed a prayer book on her chest to perform a ritual, covered her body with a white blanket and her face with a white towel, and skipped town with his mother.

Zulkifri, who had convictions for causing hurt by dangerous means, theft and housebreaking, could have been jailed for up to two years and/or fined up to $5,000 for causing hurt.

For failing to report a death, the maximum penalty under the Coroners Act is a $1,500 fine and one month in jail.