Man who had delusional beliefs that wife had affair gets 5 years' jail for knife attack
A 65-year-old man with a mental disorder who believed that his wife of 31 years was having an affair repeatedly stabbed and slashed her with four large knives.
As Madam Lee Siew Cheng, 61, lay on the floor, Fong Tuck Whye stabbed her in her genital area so that she would not be able to have an affair with her alleged lover.
When she tried to defend herself, Fong sprayed insecticide into her eyes to stop her from resisting.
Madam Lee, who was confined to a wheelchair, managed to call for help and survived the attack.
The man who Fong believed was his wife's lover was the head of a community services programme that visited the couple to help them, after Madam Lee approached the centre as she felt her husband had a mental illness.
On Friday (May 6), Fong, now 67, was sentenced to five years' jail by the High Court after he pleaded guilty to a charge of attempted culpable homicide for the attack on the morning of Aug 10, 2019.
After his arrest, he was diagnosed to be suffering from psychosis of late onset, most probably delusional disorder with features of both pathological jealousy and persecutory beliefs at the time of the attack.
The disorder resulted in an abnormal state of mind, which impaired his self-control.
His psychosis is causally linked to the offence and substantially impaired his mental responsibility, the court heard.
Justice Valerie Thean said imprisonment would protect the public from Fong, who still harbours various delusions, and also provide a structured environment with access to psychiatric services and the supervision of trained medical staff.
"A five-year term, taking into account backdating and remission, would furnish a proper amount of time for the relevant medical professionals to make considered decisions on the accused's longer-term care and future," said the judge.
The court heard that Madam Lee suffers from polio. Since 2006, she has been mostly confined to a wheelchair and is unable to work.
Fong stopped working as a driver some time between 2014 and 2015.
He was protective of Madam Lee and did not allow her to leave the flat alone or to carry a mobile phone.
In January 2016, she approached social service agencies for help.
On Feb 2, 2016, the centre head of a community rehabilitation and support service programme visited the couple in their flat.
On Feb 18, food was delivered to their flat.
Five days later, Fong went to the centre's branch in Yishun and accused the centre head of being an "imposter" and refused further assistance.
Fong began telling his wife's siblings that she was having an affair with the centre head, but they did not believe him.
In early 2019, Madam Lee stayed with her elder brother after Fong was hospitalised after a fall, and continued to do so even after he was discharged.
Fong would sometimes stay over.
In the early hours of Aug 10, 2019, at the brother's flat, Fong decided that he would attack his wife to prevent the centre head from taking her away from him.
He used newspapers to cover the surveillance cameras in the living room and took several knives from the kitchen.
He then went to Madam Lee's room, woke her up and attacked her.
She called for her elder brother, who then called the police after he tried unsuccessfully to stop the attack.
When the police arrived, Fong was squatting next to her on the floor holding a can of insecticide, while she had a knife lodged in her genital area.
She was taken to Tan Tock Seng Hospital with extensive knife wounds on her head and arms, and multiple superficial wounds over the chest and abdomen.
Her right ear was found to be partially amputated and a bone behind the ear was fractured.
She remained otherwise stable and recovered from her wounds.
A medical report on April 20, 2020, said she still had some stiffness and numbness in her thumbs, which may be permanent.
A psychological report on June 8, 2020, said that she had shown gradual improvement in managing her mood and fear, and appeared to be motivated in overcoming the incident and moving on with her life.
The couple divorced in 2021.