Retiree dies in flat, but wife and son clueless

Retiree dies in flat, but wife and son clueless

SINGAPORE - When the retiree entered his room and lay on the floor last Tuesday, his wife and son thought he was going to sleep.

Mr Pee Cheng Hai, 74, did not emerge from the room for five days, remaining in the same position on a cardboard mat in the flat's utility room next to the toilet.

That was where he usually slept, said Madam Chew Ah Hong, 64, who slept in a separate bedroom.

In that time, her husband never moved or made any sound.

When the smell of decomposing flesh began to permeate the three-room flat at Ghim Moh Road last Thursday, mother and son suspected that something might have happened to Mr Pee.

Still, they did nothing and continued living in the flat, keeping clear of the utility room unless they had to go to the toilet.

Even as the stench became unbearable, they did nothing until Sunday morning.

That was when Madam Chew decided to walk to a nearby police post to make a report.

The police arrived to find Mr Pee's motionless body in the room.

Paramedics pronounced him dead, said a police spokesman.

On Mr Pee's death certificate, the cause of death was given as heart disease.


But the police have classified the death as unnatural.

It is not unusual for elderly people who live alone to be found dead in their homes after neighbours detect a stench.

But in Mr Pee's case, he was living with his wife and adult son, Mr Pee Joo Tiong, 30.

In an interview with The New Paper at their flat on Tuesday, they did not seem to understand what to do during an emergency and struggled to answer some questions.

Asked why they had not called for an ambulance earlier, they stared blankly before saying that they were too busy with work.

Mother and son have been distributing free newspapers at Buona Vista MRT station since 2012. They usually work from 4am to 9am.

Said Mr Pee: "When we come back home, we are too tired to do anything else. When we saw him lying there, we didn't think much about it."

Madam Chew added: "We had to work. On Sunday, I thought we cannot delay any more - we had to settle on what to do with him."

Instead of making a phone call, she walked to a police post about 10 minutes away.

Madam Chew recounted: "At first, I left the radio on for him the way he likes it, but he had no reaction.

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