An odd-job man bludgeoned his niece to death with a hammer and then abandoned her body in their Beach Road flat where it was not found for nine months - all after a domestic row.
Mohamed Firdaus Mohamed Hanafiah, 29, was jailed for 10 years and eight months yesterday after he admitted committing culpable homicide.
He initially faced a murder charge but it was later reduced as he was suffering from psychotic depression at the time, reducing his mental responsibility.
Firdaus had become angry with 30-year-old Ms Lydia Wati Mohamed Yahya after she refused to eat the food he had prepared. He slapped and punched her.
His fury escalated later when she did not sweep the floor to his liking.
A series of assaults culminated with him hammering her to death in the toilet of the flat, which they shared with his girlfriend Siti Salihah Salam, now 23, who had given birth to their son days earlier.
The couple fled with the infant, but not before Firdaus wrapped his niece's body and surrounded it with air fresheners. When it was found nine months later, the fan in the one-room flat was still running, but the body was so badly decomposed that an autopsy could not determine the cause of death.
Firdaus also admitted to two unrelated drug charges. Nine other charges for various offences including theft and causing hurt were taken into consideration.
The High Court heard that the horror started one afternoon in March 2012, when Firdaus attacked his niece for not eating the food he had prepared.
Later, Ms Siti was in the living room when she heard something banging against the wall in the toilet and Ms Lydia shouting for Firdaus to stop.
She found her boyfriend hitting his niece with a broom, but he ordered her to stay away and the attack continued for about an hour.
When Firdaus and Ms Lydia returned to the living room, the latter had a swollen arm and bloodied forehead.
A couple of hours later, Firdaus told his niece to wash up and he started shouting at her again.
Ms Siti heard banging, screams and Firdaus telling his niece that she was "stepping on his head even though he was good to her".
Firdaus then went to take a hammer from his tool bag in the living room. He told Ms Siti to stay there and keep quiet.
After hearing screams, Ms Siti went to the toilet and saw Firdaus hitting Ms Lydia repeatedly on her back and shoulders. Minutes later, the screaming stopped. Firdaus pulled Ms Lydia from the toilet to a bed. Her clothes were soaked in blood and she was gasping her final breaths.
He wrapped her body in a blanket, shower curtain, black trash bag and quilt cover and then placed two air fresheners near it and fled with his family.
The body was not found until New Year's Eve 2012 after a Housing Board officer called the police to report a foul smell coming from the flat.
Police tracked down Firdaus and arrested him five days later at Kim Tian Place in Bukit Merah.
Ms Lydia was identified by her dental records. An autopsy found multiple fractures on her breastbone and ribs, some of which may have been caused by previous incidents.
Culpable homicide carries either up to 20 years' jail and a fine or caning, or life imprisonment and caning.
This article was first published on January 31, 2015.
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