Funeral director, originally charged with culpable homicide, gets reduced charge of helping ex-boyfriend commit suicide
SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old former director of City Funeral Singapore had her charge of culpable homicide reduced on Tuesday (Oct 26) to one of abetting the suicide of her ex-boyfriend by way of nitrogen gas.
SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old former director of a funeral services firm had her charge of culpable homicide reduced on Tuesday (Oct 26) to one of abetting the suicide of her ex-boyfriend by way of nitrogen gas.
In a rare case, Alverna Cher Sheue Pin is now accused of helping Wee Jun Xiang, then aged 32, to take his own life on May 16 last year at a multi-storey car park at Block 145A Bedok Reservoir Road.
She was previously hauled to court in December last year and charged with causing Wee’s death, but court documents then did not provide more details of the incident.
Her new charge sheets state that she allegedly helped Wee by turning the valve of a nitrogen gas tank “four to five times”, laying the tank down, and positioning it to pour the gas into a bag.
This allegedly facilitated his suicide through nitrogen gas inhalation.
Cher was also given a second charge of obstructing justice.
She allegedly asked another man — identified as Lawrence Cheo Oon Hui — to drive a van with the nitrogen tank away from the car park and disposed of the bag.
She is also said to have lied to a policewoman that Wee had told her he was having chest discomfort for two weeks before he died.
She is further accused of telling the police officer that she believed Wee had died of a heart attack.
Court documents did not reveal why Cher supposedly helped him.
Chinese-language media here previously reported that Wee, a composer also known as Sean, abruptly died of a heart attack that day, two months after releasing a song in Mandarin titled You Are Gone.
Cher is now represented on a pro bono basis by lawyers from Invictus Law Corporation, Mr Josephus Tan, Mr Cory Wong and Mr Josiah Zee.
On Tuesday, District Judge Brenda Tan agreed with a police prosecutor’s application to offer bail of S$100,000. Cher's lawyer later told TODAY the family had posted bail.
Mr Tan said that Cher has been in remand for nearly a year. She appeared via video-link. Her family members were in court.
The police prosecutor also said that there is a plead-guilty offer on the table, but Mr Tan said that he has to take Cher’s instructions on this once she is released on bail. The full details of this proposal were not disclosed in court.
District Judge Tan adjourned the case to a pre-trial conference on Nov 30.
Cher, a single mother of two young daughters, ran a recruitment business and worked at MindChamps as an education coach. She later took over her ex-husband's funeral business at City Funeral Singapore.
If convicted of abetting the commission of suicide or attempted suicide under the Penal Code, she could be jailed for up to 10 years and fined.
If convicted of obstruction of justice, she could be jailed for up to seven years or fined, or punished with both.
Those convicted of her original charge — culpable homicide not amounting to murder — can be jailed for life or up to 20 years, as well as fined. The offence carries the possibility of caning but women cannot be caned by law.