Row over power supply: Three years' jail for slashing landlord

A mentally ill woman, angry with her landlord for switching off the main power supply, slashed him in the forearm with a paper cutter.

Mr Wong Keng Woo, 76, died about 11/2 hours later from acute haemorrhage due to an incised wound of the left radial artery. The contributory cause was ischaemic heart disease.

Malaysian Woo Mui Mee, 36, claimed she attacked Mr Wong after he took a bamboo pole and poked her repeatedly in her abdomen at Block 114, Yishun Ring Road, on Nov 21, 2015.

Woo, who was diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia, was yesterday sentenced to three years' jail after admitting to causing grievous hurt to Mr Wong at about 10pm that day.

Woo had entered Singapore days earlier on Nov 15 that year to look for a job, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Zhuo Wenzhao. The former dishwasher, who had previously rented a room from Mr Wong, returned to his flat as a tenant again.

Investigations showed that on the night of the attack, Woo became angry with Mr Wong after he switched off the main power supply. When she saw him seated at a bus stop opposite the block, she shouted at him to return. When he was back at the flat, she scolded him and he threw something on her room door which made her angrier.

She then confronted Mr Wong with the paper cutter. She slashed him once on his left forearm outside the flat when she saw him trying to switch on the power supply.

He then took a wooden pole and walked towards her. When she saw this, she slashed him again on the forearm before running away. By then, neighbours had called the police who found blood along the corridor but could not access the unit.

Singapore Civil Defence Force personnel cut the padlock on the window and an officer climbed into the unit and unlocked the wooden door. Mr Wong was found motionless on the bed in the master bedroom and pronounced dead at 11.38pm.

In a mitigation plea, Woo's assigned lawyers from the Criminal Legal Aid Scheme, Mr Amarick Gill and Ms Cheryl Ng, said the accused's actions were a result of her mental condition which made her believe Mr Wong was sexually attracted to her.

An Institute of Mental Health report found Woo had no insight into her mental condition, but if given proper treatment before release, her condition could be managed and she would not repeat similar acts in future.

"A significant and lengthy sentence will be unjustifiable, purposeless and will serve neither Ms Woo's interest nor the public interest," said the defence.

Woo, whose sentence was backdated to Nov 23, 2015, could have been jailed for up to 15 years and fined.

Elena Chong

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on March 21, 2017, with the headline 'Row over power supply: Three years' jail for slashing landlord'. Print Edition | Subscribe