SINGAPORE - A 34-year-old man who repeatedly stabbed a student nurse at the void deck of her block of flats after she spurned his advances was on Wednesday (Feb 14) found guilty of attempted murder by the High Court.
During his trial, the Indian national, whose name has been redacted from court documents to protect the victim's identity, denied that he had any intention to kill her.
He claimed that he had taken a knife with him to meet her as he intended to commit suicide in front of her, but could not recall what had happened when he stabbed her.
In their closing arguments, his lawyers cited "Indian villagers' thinking" that "committing suicide in front of a person who has made one's life not worth living is a form of a punishment to that person".
Such a practice is "popular with scriptwriters for Indian movies", so for someone coming from such a cultural background, this method of punishing the victim is "not novel", they added.
Justice Woo Bih Li said he did not give weight to this "curious line of argument".
The judge found that the accused had intended to kill the victim, who was 20 at the time, pointing to the testimonies of the victim, the accused's statements to the police, and the way he had "repeatedly, relentlessly, and forcefully" attacked her.
He will be sentenced at a later date. He faces life imprisonment or up to 20 years, and possible caning or a fine.
The accused got to know the student nurse in February 2013, while she was attached to the hospital where he worked as a healthcare assistant.
He wooed her even though he knew she had a boyfriend. She initially played along with him but later apologised to him, telling him that "it was a joke all along".
The accused refused to accept the rejection and continued to harass her by making repeated calls to her and her friends. When she blocked his number, he used another one to contact her.
He also turned up outside her flat to ask for her hand in marriage.
On Dec 19, 2013, he again went to her home to propose marriage. He behaved aggressively on being rebuffed but eventually left after the police were called.
He went home, hid a knife in his sock and returned to the block, sleeping at the void deck to wait for her.
At about 8.30am the next day, he confronted her and demanded that she go with him to talk. When she refused, he stabbed her in the lower back. She tried to push him away but he stabbed her in the abdomen. After she fell to the floor, he continued stabbing and slashing her on her head, neck, body and arms.
The woman's parents rushed down upon hearing her screams. When her father saw the accused with a knife in his hand on top of his daughter, he pushed the assailant away.
The knife dropped and the accused fled after a brief struggle. He was detained by two passers-by and arrested by the police.
Justice Woo accepted the account of the victim, who said that as the accused was stabbing her, he shouted "saavudi" in Tamil, which meant "die". He also told her: "If I can't have you, no man should have you."
The judge noted that the accused had told the police in several statements after his arrest that he wanted to kill the victim because she cheated on him.
The number and nature of the injuries, as well as the way the accused had attacked the victim, reinforced his view that he had intended to kill her, said the judge.
The accused had struck repeatedly, relentlessly, and forcefully at several parts of the victim's body, including her head and neck region which are vulnerable.
He initiated his attack against the victim while she was standing, and continued to strike at her even after she had fallen to the ground, the judge noted.