SINGAPORE - A 39-year-old man who had been on death row for five years for knifing an elderly housewife more than 110 times in 2005 was yesterday denied the chance to escape the gallows.
Muhammad Kadar is the first convicted murderer to have his bid for re-sentencing rejected by the Court of Appeal since laws were changed last year giving judges the discretion to impose a life sentence instead of the death penalty for certain categories of murder.
Muhammad and his older brother Ismil first went on trial in 2006 for murdering their neighbour, Tham Weng Kuen, 69, at her Boon Lay flat while robbing her.
The long-running trial, which lasted three years, saw many twists and turns, including Muhammad's stunning confession in court that he was the sole assailant, although he had told police earlier that Mr Ismil was the main culprit.
Both were found guilty of murder by the High Court.
Their appeals against conviction ended in a dramatic twist in 2011 when Mr Ismil was freed after the Court of Appeal cleared him of murder.
Earlier this month, Muhammad applied to the High Court for his case to be sent back to the High Court for re-sentencing.
His lawyer, Amarick Gill, argued that the case fell within the category of murder with the intention of causing injury, which would ordinarily lead to death - and would have given him a chance to be re-sentenced to a life term.
But yesterday, the Court of Appeal dismissed Muhammad's bid, ruling that his crime amounted to murder with the intention to cause death, which still carries the mandatory death penalty.
Previous cases of convicted murderers who were re-sentenced to life imprisonment include that of Malaysian Fabian Adiu Edwin, who killed a security guard; Chinese national Wang Wenfeng, who killed a taxi driver; and Bangladeshi Kamrul Hasan Abdul Quddus, who killed his girlfriend.
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