Gardens by the Bay murder trial: Accused denies affair with victim

PHOTO: Facebook, Lianhe Zaobao

SINGAPORE - The laundry shop manager accused of murdering his lover and burning her body told a psychiatrist after his arrest that he did not have an extramarital affair with her.

Leslie Khoo Kwee Hock, 50, told Dr Kenneth Koh of the Institute of Mental Health that it was a one-sided relationship in which she developed feelings for him.

Khoo told Dr Koh that senior engineer Cui Yajie was not "his type", the court heard on Wednesday (March 13).

This emerged when Dr Koh took the stand on the second day of Khoo's trial for murdering Ms Cui, 31, on July 12, 2016, at Gardens by the Bay. The prosecution's case is that Khoo wanted to silence the Chinese national to stop her from exposing him for cheating her.

Dr Koh, who was making the routine assessment for murder cases, told the court that after a few questions, he could not get a concrete sense of the relationship between Khoo and Ms Cui.

Khoo told Dr Koh that Ms Cui was his neighbour's girlfriend and he got to know her after she created a commotion at their condominium. On Tuesday, another witness said Ms Cui was trying to patch things up with her ex-boyfriend.

Khoo claimed he was trying to help Ms Cui "according to scripture" - he bought her presents, a birthday cake and flowers.

"When people come to me for help, I don't say no," Khoo told the psychiatrist.

When Dr Koh asked Khoo if Ms Cui developed romantic feelings for him, Khoo replied that he "did not look into it" but she pestered him to go on a night fishing trip with her.

He also told Dr Koh that Ms Cui gave him $20,000 for investments, describing her as a "greedy woman".

He said she threatened to expose him on Facebook and to his bosses about his criminal record and past affairs.

Giving an account of the killing to the psychiatrist, Khoo said he picked up Ms Cui at Joo Koon MRT station in his wife's car.

He drove to Gardens by the Bay where he parked along the road to talk to her, but she began cursing his family.

"I sympathised with her too much, that was my mistake," he told Dr Koh.

A struggle ensued after Ms Cui hit Khoo's forearm, and he grabbed her neck and pushed her away. "I already told her before, she can open her mouth but cannot use physical force," he told Dr Koh.

Khoo said the woman stopped moving but he did not dare use "mouth-to-mouth" to resuscitate her.

Dr Koh also testified that he interviewed Khoo and his wife again after the defence submitted a private psychiatric report diagnosing the accused with "intermittent explosive disorder" (IED).

Initially, Khoo's wife, who had taken out a personal protection order against him early in their marriage, told Dr Koh that he had not hit her in years.

After asking if the IED diagnosis would help her husband, she sent Dr Koh an e-mail, saying that Khoo had frequent anger outbursts and that she and her son were afraid of him.

She asked Dr Koh to give the accused a favourable report, saying he was a "nice guy".

Dr Koh did not agree that Khoo had the disorder as he did not satisfy the diagnostic criteria. For instance, Khoo's anger outbursts were goal-oriented. He expressed anger towards his wife and workers to achieve certain goals, but not to his superiors.

"His outbursts were not explosive or unrestrained, but controlled and calculated," said Dr Koh.

This article was first published inĀ The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.