SINGAPORE – Years after his divorce, a retiree is so upset that he carved on a knife the dates of his alleged ex-wife’s fondness before ambushed her in a parking lot at the Institute of Technical Education (ITE) on the Central Campus.
Set Cher Heng, now 69, waited there for about three hours and at about 7.30pm on July 19, 2018, encountered Mrs Low Hwee Geok, 56, inside her car.
A struggle ensued and when she tried to get away from him, he stabbed her eight times. He then stabbed himself 13 times on his upper torso and fell on top of him.
A forensic doctor said that the three cuts that Lu had inflicted on her upper left chest, left middle back and lower left back were individually enough to cause death. Seit was convicted of a reduced murder charge on Tuesday (September 14).
The Supreme Court heard that Set repeatedly stabbed himself with the same knife after attacking Mrs. Lu in a parking lot on the Ang Moo Que campus.
He was initially charged with premeditated murder under Section 300(a) of the Penal Code, which provides for the mandatory death penalty.
Last month, prosecutors amended the charge to Section 300(c) of murder by intentionally causing fatal injuries to Ms. Lu. The charge is punishable by death or life imprisonment.
On Tuesday, prosecutors told the court they would not contest a life sentence for Sett.
Seit did not appeal the amended charge and calmly told the court: “I wish to plead guilty and I do not wish to testify.”
At the time of the murder, Set had retired from his job at ITE headquarters and relied on monthly Central Provident Fund payments. Ms. Lu was Department Manager for the Exams Department at ITE College Central.
The couple married on April 7, 1993, and separated on June 13, 2011. They have a daughter together.
The court heard that Seit, who has been divorced twice, blamed Low’s alleged infidelity for ending their marriage and was not satisfied with the division of marital assets.
He believed that he did not receive his fair share of the proceeds from sales of a condominium unit in Corporation Road that the couple had purchased in their joint name during their marriage.
Between 2011 and 2018, he made several requests via email to Ms. Low for anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000 in his share of the proceeds as well as “compensation” for the alleged infidelity.
Some time before Chinese New Year in 2018, Seit left a letter on the windshield of Ms. Lu’s car, demanding $500,000 and threatening to start legal proceedings.
Deputy Prosecutor General Hai Hong Chun told the court that Ms. Lu did not respond to his demands, and Set became more and more isolated and upset.
On July 19, 2018, ITE collected a car booked through a car-sharing site, and drove to the ITE campus.
He took with him a suitcase containing, among other things, three knives, a key fob and a note addressed to the police. The contents of the note were not disclosed in court.
He had one of the knives engraved with “010609” and “020609” on the blade as a reminder of the dates he thought he had an affair with Mrs. Lu.
Arrived at the car park around 4.40pm and waited for Mrs. Lou.
Around 7:30 p.m., when he saw Mrs. Lu approaching her car, Set got out of his car and walked towards her quickly.
When she got into her car, the Seat entered from the front passenger side. Mrs. Lu cried out loudly when she saw Seth, who grabbed her arm to prevent her from getting out of her car.
She managed to break free after a short struggle but fell when she got out of the car. Then I ran towards her and stabbed her several times.
A call was made to the police around 7.45 pm. Paramedics pronounced Ms. Lu dead at the scene.
Seit was taken to hospital, where he underwent surgery for abdominal injuries and was placed in intensive care until July 25, 2018.
The day after the tragedy, more than a dozen of her friends and family, including three of her sisters and Mrs. Lou’s daughter, came to the morgue.
There were also many members of Grace Baptist Church, which she attended. Principal Reverend Ian Ponta described Mrs. Law as a “beautiful and cheerful spirit.”
Sett, who married his first wife in 1981, married Mrs. Law in 1993 after their divorce.
The couple met while working at ITE.
On Tuesday, the court heard that a psychiatric report estimated Seit was not suffering from any major mental disorder at the time of the appeal.
Defense attorney Wendell Wong called the case a “painful family tragedy” in court.
“His primary consideration for pleading guilty is to protect his daughter and other loved ones from reviving the tragedy,” said Mr Wong, who is charged with defending Set alongside Mr Lu Qi-sheng.
The case was adjourned to September 22 for commutation and sentencing.