This article contains graphic depiction of murder that readers may find distressing. Readers’ dscretion is advised.
45-year-old Teo Ghim Heng was handed down the death sentence on Thursday (12 November) for murdering his pregnant wife and their four-year-old daughter in their Woodlands flat in 2017.
Justice Kannan Ramesh passed the sentence after having considered submissions from both the prosecution and the defence.
In delivering his judgment this afternoon, Justice Kannan said that the accused was in full control of his mental faculties when he strangled his wife, noting that Teo himself testified that he had cleared his mind within five minutes of being enraged.
The judge also found it inconceivable for the accused to blame his daughter for anything that transpired that morning.
The accused knew what he was doing, as demonstrated in his speech to his daughter, and did not kill her in a frenzied rage.
Teo was convicted of two counts of murder after he was found guilty of killing his wife Choong Pei Shan and then doing the same to their daughter.
Choong had allegedly branded him a useless husband and father in front of their daughter.
Prior to the murder of his daughter, the accused had maintained a stranglehold using a towel around his wife’s neck for approximately 15 minutes, and at least 29 minutes to the point where he went on to do so using his hands until she ceased to breathe.
The accused used the same towel around his daughter’s neck after calling her to sit in front of him with her back facing him. Before that, the girl was in the room playing and watching television.
It was reported that the couple often quarrelled over financial woes after Teo’s career as a top property agent went downhill and he began struggling with paying the bills as well as their daughter’s school fees.
He was also reportedly saddled with gambling debts.
Teo tried to kill himself multiple times but did not succeed in doing so. He tried setting his wife and daughter’s bodies alight with the intention of lying down next to them. However, Teo had apparently “chickened out” due to the heat.
The deaths were first discovered after Teo’s brother-in-law visited Teo’s house on the first day of Chinese New Year to look for his sister, who did not respond to calls and messages and did not participate in their regular celebrations.
Teo purportedly appeared “shocked” to see a group of police and Singapore Civil Defence Force officers at his door. He then approached his brother-in-law and told him that his sister was dead.
A team of defence lawyers led by Eugene Thuraisingam sought a conviction of culpable homicide not amounting to murder from the court on the grounds that their client had been suffering from major depressive disorder and was also provoked.
The prosecution, however, argued against the diminished responsibility defence, stating that Teo’s ability to describe in detail how he carried out the act and how his wife had scolded him prior is an indication that he did retain his mental capacity.
The defence said that Teo will file an appeal against the death sentence.