She saw stepdad strangle mum
Stepdad jailed 10 years for culpable homicide after pleading guilty to killing his wife
An 18-year-old girl desperately called the police because her stepfather was attacking her mother in their Choa Chu Kang flat.
But her call for help at 4am was too late to save the mother.
When the police got there, her mum's lifeless body lay in the bedroom.
An argument over their future had escalated into violence - her stepfather, Hu Ziqing, wanted to return to China but her mother, Madam Liu Bi Jiao, wanted to stay in Singapore with her until she completed her tertiary education.
Yesterday, Hu was jailed 10 years after pleading guilty to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Just hours before he was supposed to fly home on Aug 8, 2013, Chinese national Hu, now 61, made a last-ditch attempt to convince beautician Liu, 41, to go back with him.
She refused and reminded him that she had been supporting him for several years. He did not like what he heard and after a violent struggle, strangled her.
Hu and Madam Liu, also a Chinese national, had been married for seven years and had no children together. They had children from their previous marriages.
Hu had fallen in love and married Madam Liu after divorcing his wife of 23 years, following their 18-year-old son's death from leukaemia.
The couple arrived in Singapore in 2007 after Hu found a job and got an employment pass while Madam Liu was given a dependent's pass.
Soon after,Madam Liu found work as a beautician and was given a work permit.
In February 2009, after losing his job, Hu gave up his employment pass for a dependant's pass and lived off his wife's income.
Six months later, the dynamics at home changed further when Madam Liu's then-14-year-old daughter from an earlier marriage, Liu Yan, came to Singapore and studied in a secondary school.
When Hu's dependant pass was cancelled on June 6, 2013, he had no choice but to leave Singapore two months later.
They were then living in a rented flat on the 11th storey of Block 296A, Choa Chu Kang Avenue 2.
On the day he was supposed to leave, Aug 8, he woke his wife up at around 4am to ask her to quit her job and join him in China at a later date.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Sarah Shi said Madam Liu turned him down as she preferred to stay in Singapore for three more years to allow her daughter to complete her tertiary education.
Hu then tried to get intimate with his wife but she pushed his hand away.
When he persisted, she rejected him more forcefully. Angry, he hit her upper right arm.
Hu's lawyer, Mr Chua Eng Hui, said she shouted that nobody recognised him as her husband.
She said she would rather die here than leave with him.
Hu did not want their neighbours to hear them quarrelling so he used his right hand to cover her mouth.
She bit his fingers hard, drawing blood and he reacted by using his left hand to squeeze her neck.
Madam Liu called out to her daughter in Mandarin: "KeKe (the girl's pet name), save your mother!"
Liu Yan, who was then 18 years old, called the police at 4.01am and said: "My stepfather threw my mother. She is yelling and crying. They are fighting now."
The scuffle continued and Hu choked his wife until she died.
Officers arrived at the flat at 4.25am and found Madam Liu lying on the bedroom floor.
Paramedics arrived at 4.29am and gave cardiopulmonary resuscitation but it was too late.
She was pronounced dead at around 4.30am.
The New Paper understands that Liu Yan has left Singapore.
Depressed but not of unsound mind
Citing psychiatrist Dr Jaydip Sarkar from the Institute of Mental Health, Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi said that Hu was clinically depressed and had experienced psychotic symptoms such as hallucinations in the days before the offence.
However, she urged Justice Choo Han Teck to jail Hu for at least 12 years as he was found to be not of unsound mind when he strangled Madam Liu.
Hu's lawyer, Mr Chua Eng Hui, pressed for between seven and eight years' jail.
He said that Madam Liu gave his client a "measly" monthly allowance of $150 and "inevitably Hu felt humiliated and became depressed".
He added: "Being unemployed and having to depend on his wife for support only served to depress him further. However, instead of sympathising with his situation, the deceased frequently criticised him for being 'lazy and useless'." For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Hu could have been jailed for life. He cannot be caned as he is above 50 years old.
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