Fiery end to quarrel between girlfriends

A former policewoman was spared jail on Friday for splashing turpentine on her girlfriend's mother and setting a fire at the family's flat.

Sherilyn Teo Li Ying, 26, who was then dating Miss Gladys Chien Wai Ting, 20, had admitted last month to two charges of causing mischief and hurt.

On Sept 24 last year, Teo, who is now a marketing executive, turned up at Miss Chien's Redhill Road flat with a bottle of turpentine and a bottle of chlorine with the intention to threaten her then girlfriend.

Miss Chien was sleeping but her mother, Ms Leow Bee Choo, 49, let Teo in. Ms Leow then left the flat for a short while.

Teo soaked a rag with the turpentine and placed it beside Miss Chien's bed, and also poured some of the liquid near the front door of the flat.

When Ms Leow returned, she became suspicious due to the smell of turpentine, and confronted Teo about it. Claiming ignorance, Teo then left for work.

When Miss Chien, who had then woken up, and her mother realised what Teo had done, they called her mobile phone.

Upset by the accusations, Teo left her workplace to buy two more bottles of turpentine and a lighter. She turned up at the flat again, but did not enter. She poured the liquid at the front and back of the ground-floor flat.

She then threw one of the turpentine bottles at the front door of the flat and set it ablaze.

When Teo wanted to speak to Miss Chien, Ms Leow refused her request. Teo then splashed turpentine on Ms Leow's face and chest, causing injury.

In mitigation, Teo's lawyer Wee Pan Lee said Miss Chien was simultaneously dating another woman at the time of the offence.

Miss Chien and Teo often quarrelled, including on the day of the offence, the court heard. The younger woman had also belittled Teo, Mr Wee said.

Teo was in financial difficulties as she had often showered gifts on Miss Chien.

He said Miss Chien had "exploited the accused's weakness" by making Teo spend beyond her means and threatened to leave her for another woman.

Teo was placed on 18 months' probation and has to serve 80 hours of community service. She also has to attend psychiatric counselling.

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