Man who killed girlfriend escapes death sentence

Six years after he was arrested for murdering his Indonesian girlfriend, a Bangladeshi construction worker escaped the hangman's noose on Tuesday.

Kamrul Hasan Abdul Quddus, 40, is the fourth convicted murderer on death row to be given a life sentence instead of the death penalty. He was also ordered to be caned 10 strokes.

This follows changes to the law which took effect this year, giving judges the discretion to impose either the death penalty or life imprisonment for certain categories of murder.

Kamrul was convicted in 2010 of murdering Yulia Afriyanti, 25, who worked here as a maid.

Her naked body was found on Dec 16, 2007, in a cardboard box in a unit of the Viz@Holland condominium, which was then under construction.

At Kamrul's re-sentencing on Tuesday, his lawyer P. Suppiah asked the court to impose a life sentence, arguing that there was only circumstantial evidence linking him to the crime.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Ruth Wong did not object to a life term but sought 16 to 18 strokes of the cane, saying Kamrul used considerable force on the woman.

Justice Choo Han Teck, noting he was not the judge in Kamrul's trial, said he would grant some leniency.

The trial judge, Justice Kan Ting Chiu, retired in 2011. In January 2010, he had concluded that Kamrul strangled Ms Yulia, saying that the strong circumstantial evidence was corroborated by his lies to the police and the inference drawn from his choice not to take the stand. The maid's belongings were found in his locker, her work permit was in his pocket, and tests indicated he had sex with her before she died.

Kamrul's appeal was dismissed in July that year.

Last year, he tried and failed to reopen the case.

However, with the changes to the law, his case was sent back to the High Court to determine whether he should be hanged or jailed for life.

The other three murderers before him who were sentenced to life instead were: Fabian Adiu Edwin, 23, a construction worker from Sabah; Jabing Kho, 29, a rag-and-bone man from Sarawak; and Bijukumar Remadevi Nair Gopinathan, 37, a shipyard worker from India. They were also given canings of between 18 and 24 strokes.

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