Woodlands slasher may escape gallows

He was charged three years ago with the murder of a woman in Woodlands.

But Soh Wee Kian, 23, might escape the gallows.

Wednesday, the prosecution indicated that it will reduce the charge to culpable homicide.

This means that Soh may be jailed for life and possibly caned, or jailed up to 20 years with possible fine or caning.

The former full-time national serviceman allegedly knifed Madam Hoe Hong Lin, 32, at Mandai Tekong Park along Woodlands Drive 50 on Sept 22, 2010.

The clerk had dropped off her 11-yearold nephew at her sister's flat and was on her way back to meet her family.

It was believed to be the fourth slashing Soh had committed over eight months.

Other victims

At about 10.30pm on Jan 29, 2010 - the day after his birthday - he allegedly left lacerations on the body and arm of Ms Ooi Li Li, then 31, at the void deck of Block 171, Yishun Ave 7. The sales assistant was waiting for the lift.

Four days later, he allegedly caused grievous hurt to Ms Lam Hui Lin, 23, by slashing her face and arms with a knife.

The healthcare worker was listening to her MP3 player while jogging when she was attacked along the Khatib Bongsu Park Connector, Yishun Avenue 6.

On May 26, Soh allegedly caused grievous hurt to Ms How Poh Ling, 25, by stabbing her several times with a knife. The clerk was also listening to music with her headphones when she was attacked.

On Oct 16, Soh was charged with murdering Madam Hoe, a permanent resident from Malaysia.

The mother of two young children had celebrated the Mid-Autumn Festival with her family shortly before she was attacked.

Soh's murder trial was supposed to start yesterday, but the prosecution indicated that it will reduce the murder charge and proceed on one of the charges for voluntarily causing grievous hurt with a dangerous weapon.

Two other charges - one of causing hurt and another of causing grievous hurt - will be taken into consideration.

Lawyers Thangavelu and Josephus Tan, who are representing Soh, said they will accept the offer.

Soh, who is scheduled to plead guilty on Aug 20, appeared calm throughout the court proceedings yesterday, occasionally turning his head to chat with a security officer guarding him in the dock.

Mr Tan said they had taken Soh's instructions on Saturday and met the prosecution on Tuesday, and that Soh would plead guilty if the charge was reduced.

They made representations that Tuesday afternoon and the prosecution finalised the offer on Wednesday.

Mr Tan added that Soh's family is relieved he escaped the death penalty.

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