Life in prison for man who murdered girlfriend, judge says death penalty not warranted in this case

Leslie Khoo (left) pleaded guilty and was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing lover Cui Yajie (Image from Facebook / Leslie Khoo / Cui Yajie)

The man who killed his lover in his car near Gardens by the Bay and later burnt her body has been sentenced to life in prison today (19 August) by Singapore Court.

Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock, 51, who had pleaded guilty in July 2016 to strangling his engineer mistress Cui Yajie, 31 had admitted to killing her in his BMW before burning her body at Lim Chu Kang Lane for several days until nothing was left of her except some pieces of fabric, a bra hook, and some clumps of hair.

Prosecutors in the case have sought a life sentence for Khoo.

Justice Audrey Lim had noted that the death penalty is usually only imposed in cases where the offenders exhibits viciousness and a blatant disregard for life, which the judge says is not what happened in this case.

Khoo admitted to have killed Ms Cui when she had pressed him to repay a S$20,000 debt, the judge said the evidence didn’t show that the murder was planned.

Khoo was apparently unaware that Ms Cui intended to confront his boss at his officer on that fateful day. He had planned to dissuade her from doing so when he found out.

The judge described how Khoo had picked Ms Cui up from Joo Koon MRT station and took her to a secluded place where he tried to calm her down.

However, when things went south and Ms Cui became motionless, Khoo did not call for help but rather took great lengths to dispose of her body. Even so, the judge said that this was irrelevant for sentencing.

An affair gone wrong

Khoo, married with one son, was a retail outlet manager for a laundry firm. Ms Cui was a Chinese national who attached to a semiconductor company as a senior engineer.

Their relationship had begun in 2015 with Khoo lying to her that he was not married and that the laundry firm belonged to his family. When she later became suspicious, he told her he was divorced.

At some point, Khoo had persuaded Cui to invest S$20,000 in gold and she borrowed money from her parents give to him to make the said investment.

However, when she asked for him to pay her back, Khoo had a former lover remit S$10,000 to Cui’s father.

On the affair itself, Cui had apparently sent a Facebook message to Khoo’s wife asking her to say away from him which led to Khoo’s wife confronting him about the affair.

On 12 July 2016, matters took a turn for the worst when Khoo picked up Cui from the MRT station upon finding out her plan to confront his boss, killed her and burnt her body.

According to Khoo’s testimony, he had covered her body with laundry bags after realising she had died. He parked the car at his condominium overnight before moving to dispose the body.

Curiously, Khoo denied that he was in a romantic relationship with Ms Cui though he admitted to having affairs with other women.

This is the second time a person has been convicted of murder in Singapore court without a body. In 1965, Grand Prix driver Sunny Ang was sentenced to death for killing his girlfriend at sea after taking out a life insurance policy on her.

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