Murder trial: Victim's face all 'bashed in'

Medical expert in love triangle case says nearly every bone, from eye socket to jaw, fractured

Chia Kee Chen was charged in court on Jan 2, 2014, with the murder of Mr Dexmon Chua Yizhi.
Chia Kee Chen was charged in court on Jan 2, 2014, with the murder of Mr Dexmon Chua Yizhi. PHOTO: ST FILE

A 37-year-old man allegedly murdered by his former lover's husband had his face bashed so badly that almost every bone, from the eye socket to the lower jaw, was fractured.

Senior consultant forensic pathologist Gilbert Lau told the High Court yesterday that material analyst Dexmon Chua Yizhi died from the "very extensive" injuries to his face and head caused by blunt force trauma.

Associate Professor Lau, who conducted an autopsy on Mr Chua's body, was testifying on the fourth day of the murder trial of businessman Chia Kee Chen, 56, whose wife had an affair with Mr Chua.

Chia is accused of forcing the victim into a van and assaulting him, together with Indonesian Febri Irwansyah Djatmiko, between the night of Dec 28 and the early hours of Dec 29, 2013. Febri is still at large.

Chia led police to Mr Chua's body at a forested live-firing area in Lim Chu Kang, but denies involvement in the killing.

Yesterday, Prof Lau, who had gone to the scene, said Mr Chua had probably been assaulted elsewhere before his body was dumped there.

Using a CT scan image of Mr Chua's head, Prof Lau showed the multiple fractures. He said the injuries indicated "great force had been applied" by a blunt object like a hammer or through stamping by feet. After seeing a picture of the van, he said "stamping would have been rather difficult". No weapon has been found.

Prof Lau said he was not able to pinpoint the number of blows owing to the decomposition of the body. "Certainly more than one," he said.

Asked by Deputy Public Prosecutor Eugene Lee if the injuries could have been caused by fists, Prof Lau said it was unlikely "unless it's a martial arts expert". When defence lawyer Peter Fernando asked if the injuries could have been caused by a single assailant, he said it was possible.

Also taking the stand as a prosecution witness was the accused's brother-in-law, Mr Goh Beng Guat.

In a statement he gave last year, Mr Goh said that, at about 3am on Dec 29, 2013, he was woken up by a phone call from Chia, who asked to meet him at the void deck.

He said Chia told him his sister, Chia's wife, had been under a "spell", so Chia had gone to look for the other party. Mr Goh said Chia told him the other party had collapsed in the fight. He said Chia asked for his help to carry the person but he refused.

"I told him that I would not do anything illegal and I did not want to know," Mr Goh said in the statement, which was read out in court.

On the stand, he presented a reluctant figure, sitting with his arms crossed. When questioned by both prosecution and defence, he declined to elaborate, saying repeatedly: "It's already in my statement."

When Mr Fernando put it to him that his account of what Chia had said to him was not true, Mr Goh closed his eyes and took a long pause before replying: "I refuse to believe what he told me."

The trial continues on Tuesday.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on October 29, 2016, with the headline 'Murder trial: Victim's face all 'bashed in''. Print Edition | Subscribe