A 69-year-old man who went on trial for murdering his ex-wife at ITE College Central in Ang Mo Kio in 2018 was found guilty in the High Court on Tuesday (Sep 14).
Seet Cher Hng was convicted of murder at the end of a trial that lasted about an hour after he said he wanted to plead guilty, instead of contesting the charge. He declined to take the stand.
However, by law, a person cannot plead guilty to a capital charge and he was found guilty.
Seet’s lawyer Wendell Wong said that Seet’s intention in not contesting the murder charge was to shield his daughter, whom he “loves dearly”, and other loved ones from re-living the tragedy.
According to court documents, Seet, a retiree who used to work at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) headquarters, and his ex-wife Ms Low Hwee Geok, got married in 1993 and divorced in 2011.
Following the divorce, Seet believed he did not receive his fair share of the proceeds of their matrimonial asset, a condominium unit. He also attributed the divorce to Ms Low’s alleged infidelity.
From 2011 to 2018, Seet made “numerous demands” via emails to Ms Low, seeking a sum of S$200,000 to S$500,000 from her, the court heard.
Sometime before Chinese New Year in 2018, Seet left a letter on the windscreen of Ms Low's car at ITE College Central, where she was the divisional director of the examinations division.
In the letter, he demanded S$500,000 and threatened to commence legal proceedings. Ms Low, who was 56 then, did not respond to the letters and emails.
Seet became increasingly isolated, upset and depressed, the court heard.
THE DAY OF THE MURDER
On Jul 19, 2018, Seet drove a car he reserved on a car-sharing site two days before to the ITE College Central car park, bringing with him a haversack containing three knives, a spanner and a note addressed to the police which was dated Apr 12, 2018.
One of the knives was engraved with “010609” and “020609” on the blade. Seet engraved these numbers on the knife as a reminder of the dates that he believed he caught Ms Low having an affair, the court heard.
Seet arrived at the car park at about 4.40pm, found Ms Low’s car and parked nearby.
“He wanted to be close enough so that he could see the deceased when she returned to her car. He planned to get into her car before the deceased drove off,” according to court documents.
Seet sat in his car and waited for Ms Low to return to her car after she finished work. When he saw her approaching her car at about 7.30pm, Seet immediately alighted from his car with the haversack, and walked quickly towards Ms Low’s car, the court heard.
As Ms Low entered entered her car from the driver’s side, Seet entered through the front passenger side of the car. Ms Low screamed upon seeing him, the court heard.
He grabbed Ms Low’s arm in an attempt to stop her from getting out of the car. After a “brief struggle”, Ms Low managed to break free and tried to leave the car, but fell as she stepped out from it.
Seet then ran towards Ms Low with a knife in his hand. He then stabbed her eight times, including on her upper chest and back.
He then stabbed himself on his upper torso repeatedly with the same knife, and collapsed on top of his ex-wife, the court heard.
Ms Low was pronounced dead at 8pm by paramedics who arrived at the scene, while Seet was conveyed to Tan Tock Seng Hospital (TTSH) for medical treatment under police escort.
Seet was in the intensive care unit at TTSH for five days and was transferred to Changi General Hospital on Jul 25, 2018.
He was assessed by an expert not to suffer from any major mental disorder and was not of unsound mind at the time of the stabbing.
On Tuesday, the prosecution said that they will not be objecting to life imprisonment. Seet is expected to be sentenced on Sep 22.
The maximum punishment for murder is death by hanging.