Trader to hang for murder of French tourist

Trader to hang for murder of French tourist
Justice is served: Mortel exiting the courtroom after the judge sentenced Asni to the gallows.

KUANTAN - Trader Asni Omar was sentenced to death for the murder of French tourist Stephanie Foray, whose mummified remains were found buried in a cave on Pulau Tioman.

High Court judge Justice Mariana Yahya sentenced Asni, 39, after finding that his defence had failed to prove his case beyond reasonable doubt.

Justice Mariana said that in his testimony, Asni had given a number of reasons to show that he was not involved in the death of Foray but these were mere denials.

Besides being the one who pointed the way to Foray's body, Asni, she added, was the last person seen with her.

"The accused also hid facts when he knew he had been arrested to assist in the investigation of Foray's disappearance. He knew where Foray's body was but initially refused to tell the police.

"His reason was that he was afraid of being accused of causing her death. An innocent person would not be scared. This meant that he did something to Foray and the guilt caused him to be afraid," said Justice Mariana in her judgment yesterday.

Asni, said Justice Mariana, could not satisfy the court with explanations that could be accepted by a reasonable person.

"I find the accused's story was well-arranged to show he was innocent. However, it only served to weaken his own defence. Therefore, I pronounce him guilty as charged.

"There is only one mandatory punishment under Section 302 of the Penal Code. The accused will be taken to a place where he will be hanged to death," she said.

Asni was charged with murdering Foray at an unnumbered house in Kampung Tekek, Pulau Tioman, between 8pm on May 10 and noon on May 12, 2011.

Foray, 30, had arrived on the island by ferry on May 10, 2011, and disappeared shortly afterwards. Her mummified remains were found three months later.

Foray's mother Irene Mortel wept as she looked at Asni, shortly after the judgment was delivered.

"I know it can't change anything," she said outside the court.

Foray's father Joel said he felt the inquiry went well, adding that he was satisfied that justice had been served for his daughter.

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