Gardens by the Bay murder: Laundry shop manager found guilty of killing China mistress, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Gardens by the Bay murder: Laundry shop manager found guilty of killing China mistress

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Judge rejects all defences and Khoo now faces death penalty or life imprisonment

Laundry shop manager Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock, 51, who strangled his lover in his car on a quiet road near Gardens by the Bay and then burned her body, was found guilty of murder yesterday.

Judicial Commissioner Audrey Lim convicted Khoo of murdering engineer Cui Yajie, 31, on July 12, 2016, and rejected all defences he had raised to the charge.

She said Khoo knew that pressing Ms Cui's neck with great force would "likely cause her death", and dismissed his claim he had not intended to strangle her and only realised his hands were around her neck after she had stopped moving.

She also rejected his testimony that Ms Cui had physically abused him, pointing to her smaller size in dismissing Khoo's claim that she had restrained him when he had tried to get out of the car.

"The accused acted in a cruel and unusual manner," said the judge, as Khoo listened calmly to the verdict.

The judge also discredited Khoo's claim that he had burned Ms Cui's body to let her "rest in peace".

She said Khoo had reason to kill Ms Cui, who was pressing him to repay a $20,000 debt to her, to avoid the financial pressure and threat of ruin that she posed.

Sentencing was adjourned to a later date.

Khoo faces the death sentence or life imprisonment.

Khoo did not dispute that he had strangled Ms Cui in his BMW and later burned her body at Lim Chu Kang Lane 8 over several days until nothing was left except clumps of hair, pieces of partly burnt fabric and a bra hook.

But his defence argued he should be found guilty only of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Khoo's lawyer Mervyn Cheong said the fight in the car was sudden, and he had been provoked by her verbal taunts.

The defence claimed he was suffering from a mental condition known as intermittent explosive disorder (IED).

The prosecution, led by Deputy Attorney-General Hri Kumar Nair, said Khoo was bent on silencing Ms Cui after she had threatened to expose him to his supervisor.

Khoo, who is married with a son, was a retail outlet manager for a laundry firm, while Ms Cui, a Chinese national, was a senior engineer with a semiconductor company.