Spurned man gets 14 years' jail and caning for stabbing student nurse who rejected him

SINGAPORE - A 34-year-old man who repeatedly stabbed a student nurse at her Housing Board void deck after she spurned his advances was on Monday (April 30) sentenced to 14 years' jail and six strokes of the cane for attempted murder.

In sentencing, a High Court judge told the accused that the then 20-year-old victim may have "led you on somewhat", but pointed out that she had made it clear to him that she was ending the relationship some time before the attack.

The man, whose name has been redacted from court documents to protect the victim's identity, denied that he had any intention to kill her. Instead, the Indian national claimed he wanted to kill himself in front of her.

But Justice Woo Bih Li concluded that the man, a healthcare assistant, had intended to kill the victim and had inflicted life-threatening injuries on her.

"Fortunately, due to timely action by doctors, the victim was saved," said the judge, who added that it was also fortunate that she was not permanently incapacitated, although some injuries may be permanent.

The accused and the victim met in early January 2013 when she was attached to the ward of the hospital where he was working.

They became close and he wooed her even though he knew she had a boyfriend. She initially "played along" with him and even raised the possibility of marriage on a few occasions in April 2013.

But in the second half of 2013, she decided to stop. She told him that their relationship "was a joke all along".

The accused could not accept this. He harassed 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.

At about 8.30am the next day, he confronted her with a knife at the foot of her block as she was leaving home for school and demanded that she go with him to talk.

When she refused, he stabbed her in the back. She tried to push him away but he stabbed her in the abdomen. After she fell to the floor, he sat on top of her and continued stabbing and slashing her on her head, neck, body and arms.

During the attack, he shouted "saavudi" in Tamil, which meant "die". He also told her: "If I can't have you, no man should have you."

The woman's parents rushed down upon hearing her screams. Her father pushed the assailant away and the knife dropped in the ensuing struggle. The accused fled but was detained by two passers-by and arrested by the police.

During his trial, the main claimed he had taken a knife with him to meet her as he intended to end his life in front of her.

In their closing arguments, his lawyers said the practice of committing suicide in front of someone to punish that person was "popular with scriptwriters for Indian movies". "For an accused coming from such background, this ridiculous method of punishing the (victim) is not novel", they argued.

Justice Woo said he did not give weight to this "curious line of argument".