The youth, 19, his lover, 58, and her husband...

SINGAPORE - He was 19 and she was 58. But the age gap did not stop the pair from embarking on a May-December romance, which later ended in a bloody trail.

Months after joining the Ritz Carlton hotel in January last year as a cleaner, Ahmad Haji Shahul Hammed, now 21, developed a intimate relationship with one of his colleagues.

Patricia Anne Yong, also a cleaner and now 60, would tell him about her problems with her husband, Mr Loh Ngee Khoon, 59. When she called Ahmad on National Day to say they were quarrelling, he responded by taking a cab to their home along Circuit Road and angrily confronting her husband.

After punching and kicking Mr Loh, he took a 30cm knife from the kitchen and stabbed him in the abdomen. He then slashed him across his eyebrow, neck and wrists.

For a short while, Ahmad and his lover placed two pillows on Mr Loh's face and smothered him.

They watched the National Day Parade on TV for about three hours, as their victim bled, before calling the police at 8.34pm. Mr Loh had to be hospitalised for 11 days.

During the assault that began around 5.30pm, Yong helped to close and cover the kitchen windows with towels so the neighbours would not notice anything. She also stepped on her husband's hands while his wrists were being slashed, told Ahamd that Mr Loh "cannot live past today", and brought the pillows out from the bedroom.

She was sentenced to four years in jail on Dec 19 last year over the incident.

Yesterday, in handing her lover the same jail term, District Judge Hamidah Ibrahim noted: "The brutality is shocking."

The judge also ordered Ahmad, who like his lover pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntarily causing hurt to Mr Loh - one of them grievous - to be given six strokes of the cane over the knife attack last Aug 9.

Calling for at least four years in jail with caning for Ahmad, Deputy Public Prosecutor Joshua Lim said the act had been "relentless" and "calculated". "This was a macabre strain of love that produced depravity, perversity and, ironically, not new life, but near death."

Urging the court to consider Yong's role in the incident, Ahmad's lawyer Jeyapalan Ayaduray said he was less culpable than his lover. But Judge Hamidah disagreed.

Ahmad, who has sub-normal intelligence, had, in May 2009, been sentenced to probation for theft. Five months later, he was given reformative training for having underage sex.

For voluntarily causing grievous hurt to his victim with a knife, Ahmad could have been jailed up to 15 years or for life, and fined or caned. For pressing a pillow on Mr Loh's face and hurting him, he could have been jailed up to two years and fined up to $5,000.

This article was first published on June 10, 2014.
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