Singapore — A migrant worker from Bangladesh was sentenced to death on Monday (Dec 14) for the murder of his girlfriend, a maid from Indonesia, two years ago.
The body of 34-year-old Nurhidayati Wartono Surata was found in a room at the Golden Dragon Hotel in Geylang by a receptionist on the evening of Dec 30, 2018.
Ahmed Salim, 31, was found guilty of killing the woman, with a cervical spine injury and strangulation listed as the causes of death, according to a report on channelnewsasia.
Salim was already engaged to marry another woman at that time, although he and Ms Nurhidayati had been in a relationship for several years.
After he strangled her, he took her valuables and left her body tied with a rope around her neck and with her head twisted violently.
According to Judicial Commissioner Mavis Chionh, Salim’s actions “demonstrated premeditation, cogent planning, and methodical execution” before, during and after the killing.
She did not accept the partial defence that Ms Nurhidayati had provoked Salim by taunting him about another man when she allegedly said: “He is better than you, he is better than you in the hotel, he is better in bed, he is better financially. If you don’t believe, next week I will go with him, we’ll make a video and show you.”
JC Chionh pointed out that Salim had made no claims that Ms Nurhidayati said such words when he made his police statements and during interviews with a psychiatrist from the lnstitute of Mental Health (IMH).
In fact, he only made the claims one-and-a-half years after Ms Nurhidayati’s death.
JC Chionh said: “I find his explanations for his failure to mention the humiliating words in the police statements and to (the IMH psychiatrist) to be far-fetched. I agree with the prosecution that the accused’s story of the humiliating words was precisely that — a story.”
“On the totality of the evidence … I find that the accused had decided even before Dec 30, 2018, that he would kill the deceased so long as she refused to leave her new boyfriend and to get back together with him,” she added.
And while Salim had been diagnosed with an adjustment disorder at the time Ms Nurhidayati was killed, there has been no contributory link found between the disorder and the murder.
When Ms Nurhidayati’s body was discovered, the helper had bruises on her arms and strangulation marks on her neck.
Her mother and stepfather were called by the Indonesian Embassy the next day, Dec 31, and informed of their daughter’s death.
This came as a shock to Madam Warsem, the mother, who had spoken to her daughter only the day before. She said that she believed Ms Nurhidayati had been killed by Salim because she had refused to become his mistress.
Madam Warsem knew about Salim because her daughter had often talked about her life in Singapore. The mother said: “Salim was arranged to be married to a Bangladeshi woman by his parents, but he didn’t want to let go of my daughter as his girlfriend.”
Madam Warsem said her daughter had confided in her that she had tried to break off her relationship with Salim several times but he had refused to let her go.
The mother had even told Ms Nurhidayati to find employment in Hong Kong just to escape from Salim but her daughter chose to stay with her Singapore employer. /TISG