Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Strangled His Stepdaughter - Guilty Or Not?

He claimed today in the High Court that when he placed his hands around her neck and squeezed, he did not intend to kill his 15-year old stepdaughter.

This is the claim of 46-year old bus driver, Ong Pang Siew. He says that the strangling death was not deliberate or intentional and he did not know how much force he had applied.

The tragic incident occurred on October 20th last year at Ong's ex-wife's (39-year old, Xiu Yanhong) apartment at Marsiling Drive.

Today marked the fifth day of Ong's murder trial, and he was cross-examined by Deputy Public Prosecutor Amarjit Singh.

The victim was Pan Hui, was the daughter of Madam Xiu from her first marriage in China. Ong and Xiu were married in 2002 and divorced last year. Together they have a son, who is now aged five.

Ong stated that he does not know why he was so agitated nor why he constricted her neck. "At that time, she also raised her voice and told me not to disturb her. I was angry with my ex-wife and a little angry with her as well".

Ong went one step further and claimed that he was under the influence of alcohol on the day in question. The prosecuter believes this was a ploy for Ong to assume no responsibility for his actions due to loss of control.

The DPP asked Ong if he in fact murdered the girl out of revenge for his ex-wife divorcing him and not allowing him access to their son. Ong vehemently denied this allegation.

The case continues with an expert witness to appear on behalf of the defence, who will claim that Ong was suffering from severe depression at the time, and hence reduced his mental responsibility for his killing.

Ong sobbed uncontrollably while on the stand. In Hokkien, he was heard to say "I am prepared to accept the death sentence if I really did it intentionally. I went to repair our relationship. I also wanted to ask if she was happy to have received her (Singapore) Identity Card".

Upon further examination of Ong on the stand, it was revealed that Mdm Xiu had taken their son, Cong He, to her Tanjong Katong shop on the day of the tragedy. Earlier he had missed an appointment to see Cong He at the Marsiling apartment and was angry with Madam Xiu for not calling him and waking him up.

After arguing with Xiu on the phone, Ong rode his bike to Block 24 Marsiling Drive to see his stepdaughter. But after he arrived, they also got into an argument. Ong claims this was because he had discovered that his son had been beaten.

Ong claimed he was surprised when his stepdaughter raised her voice and "appeared to reach for a knife near her computer". He went on to say that a struggle ensued and that was when he pressed his hands on his stepdaughter’s neck and head and asked her why she and her mother were treating him so badly.

Ong said "It was only when the ambulance arrived that I realised I had killed an innocent child. Before that, my stepdaughter was motionless and that was when I called my ex-wife to say she had forced me to kill her daughter".

He claims that he did not know that the girl was dead and thought she had only passed out.

If found guilty on the charge of murder, Ong will face the death penalty.

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