Man jailed 12 years for stabbing ex-girlfriend to death in Jurong

Zheng Xianfeng had initially been charged with murdering 34-year-old Tham Mee Yoke at Block 308 Jurong East Street 32.(Yahoo News Singapore file photo)
At the time of the offence, Zheng Xianfeng, who is from China, was suffering from major depressive disorder and acute alcohol intoxication. (Yahoo News Singapore file photo)

SINGAPORE — A 37-year-old man who repeatedly stabbed his ex-girlfriend to death in Jurong last year was on Wednesday (21 September) jailed for 12 years after pleading guilty to culpable homicide.

At the time of the attack, Zheng Xianfeng, who is from China, was suffering from major depressive disorder and acute alcohol intoxication.

He had initially been charged with murdering 34-year-old Malaysian Tham Mee Yoke on the night of 16 February at Block 308 Jurong East Street 32.

About the case

Zheng met Tham in December 2018 when they rented separate rooms in the same unit. They later got into a relationship despite Zheng being in a relationship with another woman and was still married to his ex-wife. Tham was also separated from her husband, and had four kids in Malaysia.

Zheng later broke up from his other girlfriend and divorced his ex-wife in 2019. He then lived with Tham together from about September 2019 to November 2020.

Their relationship deteriorated in August 2020. They would quarrel over minor issues and suspect each other of being unfaithful.

On 17 November 2020, after a quarrel at an open-air carpark near Block 349 Jurong East Avenue 1, Zheng stabbed himself in his right thigh with a penknife before pinning Tham to the ground and wounding her in the abdomen and forearm with the weapon. Tham had wanted to break up with Zheng and had packed her bags to shift to a friend's home.

The culprit was arrested and found to be intoxicated with alcohol.

Early last year, Zheng tried to meet Tham a few times in a bid to salvage their relationship. He would wait for her at the void deck near her friend's home, but she would try to avoid him or they would end up quarrelling.

Once, in early February, Zheng grabbed Tham's phone and found messages from another man. He smashed the phone on the ground and slapped her arm forcefully before fleeing to avoid police attention.

Just two days after this incident, Zheng waited for Tham at her workplace. Her manager had to accompany her to get a taxi and warned Zheng, who reeked of alcohol, not to harass her lest he call the police.

The stabbing

On 16 February last year, Zheng took leave and drank beer at home. He got upset when Tham told him in a text message not to harass her and took a knife. In the afternoon, he left home to wait for Tham near her friend's home. Zheng continued drinking beer while waiting for her at a nearby void deck.

Just before midnight, Zheng saw Tham and walked over to her at the void deck of Block 308, Jurong East Street 32.

Three male friends aged 19 to 21 saw Zheng with the knife tucked behind his pants and called the police and watched him from a distance.

Tham was shocked to see Zheng and backed away from him while he continued to walk towards her. At a basketball court near the block, Zheng took out the knife and Tham fell to the ground face-up while she was trying to move away from him. He then squatted over her and stabbed her repeatedly in the chest and abdomen.

One of the eyewitnesses quickly rode his personal mobility device towards Zheng and used it to hit him in a bid to thwart the attack but Zheng was undeterred.

When Zheng realised Tham was motionless, he ran off before cutting himself on the left forearm in a suicide bid. At a grass patch near Block 307 Jurong East Street 32, he again cut himself on the left forearm, removed his clothes and passed out. Police officers found him by following the blood trail.

Tham suffered from at least 19 stab wounds and 10 incised wounds to the head, lip, neck, chest, breasts, abdomen, and both limbs. She also had three rib fractures.

While in an ambulance on the way to the hospital, Tham was bleeding profusely and lost her pulse. Paramedics stopped the ambulance along a roadside to resuscitate her to no avail before continuing to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation while en route to the hospital. She was pronounced dead in hospital after more unsuccessful resuscitative efforts just before 1.30am on 17 February last year.

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