A paranoid schizophrenic who stabbed to death a fellow cleaner after hallucinating that she posed a threat to him was sentenced to life imprisonment yesterday.
Pua Kok Heng, 57, who has delusions that he is the victim of political persecution, attacked Madam Goh Ah Moy, 62, after she scolded him for using her cleaning equipment at Jurong East MRT station in November 2011.
Yesterday, Justice Lee Seiu Kin said a life term was appropriate, based on psychiatric assessment that Pua needed life-long treatment and has a tendency to not take his medication.
The High Court had heard in April, when he pleaded guilty, that Pua and two other cleaners were deployed to clean the MRT station on Nov 22, 2011. He did not have any cleaning equipment with him so he used mops and pails belonging to Madam Goh.
When she later scolded him for dirtying her equipment, he became irritated and shouted at her to stop. A fellow cleaner pulled him away.
The next morning, Pua heard voices and saw a "floating" image of Madam Goh challenging him to go to the MRT station with a knife.
He tucked a knife into the waistband of his shorts and confronted her at the station.
Pua's supervisor, Mr Simon Lim, saw him shouting incoherently at Madam Goh and told him to calm down.
When Pua told him not to interfere and drew his knife, Mr Lim told him he was fired. Pua continued shouting until Mr Lim led Madam Goh to safety.
The next morning, Pua again saw an image of Madam Goh "flying in" from the window and taunting him.
This time, armed with two knives, he went to the MRT station and stabbed her once in the chest with a 20cm blade.
Pua, who has suffered from schizophrenia since 2002, was arrested that evening at his rental flat in Marsiling Road.
He pleaded guilty in April this year to a charge of culpable homicide.
Prosecutors sought a life sentence at the time as they said he posed a high risk of future violence but sentencing was adjourned till yesterday as the High Court wanted clarification from psychiatrists on Pua's condition.
This article was first published on July 15, 2014.
Get a copy of The Straits Times or go to straitstimes.com for more stories.