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Schizophrenic man who killed elderly father acquitted of murder but to be kept in safe custody

SINGAPORE — A man suffering from a psychotic attack when he killed his 75-year-old father in their Bedok North flat was found to have caused the death but was acquitted of murder on Tuesday (Nov 3).

Schizophrenic man who killed elderly father acquitted of murder but to be kept in safe custody

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, Tan Kok Meng will be kept in custody in a psychiatric institution, prison or other suitable places for an indefinite period of time at the President’s discretion.

  • Tan Kok Meng struck and strangled his 75-year-old father on Nov 13, 2015
  • Prosecutors and his lawyers agreed that he was suffering from schizophrenia when he committed the act 
  • A High Court judge found that he caused his father’s death but acquitted him of murder given his mental state 
  • Tan will now be kept in safe custody

 

SINGAPORE — A man suffering from a psychotic attack when he killed his 75-year-old father in their Bedok North flat was found to have caused the death but was acquitted of murder on Tuesday (Nov 3). 

Tan Kok Meng, 46, struck Tan Ah Hin many times. When the paramedics arrived at the scene, he strangled his father while they watched helplessly. 

Under the Criminal Procedure Code, he will now be “kept in safe custody” in a psychiatric institution, prison or other suitable places for an indefinite period of time at the President’s discretion.

In acquitting Tan of the capital charge, Justice Valerie Thean said that ordering him to be confined was for the safety of society, himself and his family.

Both the prosecution and defence agreed that he was of unsound mind when the incident happened on Nov 13, 2015. 

He was suffering a schizophrenic relapse and “experiencing severe psychotic symptoms”, the judge noted.

There was no other rational explanation for the older Tan’s death and the “inescapable legal conclusion” was that he caused the injuries while having a psychotic episode, Justice Thean added.

“This is grief twice over for the family,” she said.

Tan’s aunt, mother and sister, who were present in court, spoke to him after the hearing ended. 

He was represented by Mr Favian Kang of Peter Low & Choo LLC and Mr Nichol Yeo from Solitaire LLP.

Under the usual circumstances, murder carries life imprisonment or the death penalty.

WHAT HAPPENED

At the time of the incident, Tan Kok Meng was unemployed and lived with his parents.

When his mother — identified only as Madam Toh — returned home around 5.15pm that day, she found her husband lying face up on the ground. 

She saw him “breathing heavily” with a pool of blood under his head. 

Tan Kok Meng was sitting on a sofa near his father and did not respond when she asked him what happened.

Mdm Toh then went to get help. 

She told the court previously that her son had looked dazed in the days before the incident and paced around their flat. 

She and her husband would hide the house keys from him to keep him safely at home. 

When Mdm Toh returned home that day, her son walked towards his father, sat on his abdomen and placed his hands on his upper chest. 

She pulled him away.

Ms Zaneta Lee, one of three paramedics who arrived shortly afterwards and testified during the murder trial, said that Tan Kok Meng appeared dazed and was “staring at a distance” at his father.

When they went to check on the victim and found that he had a severe head injury, Tan Kok Meng suddenly stood up and told the paramedics in Mandarin and with hand gestures to move away.

He then strangled his father for “approximately one to two minutes” while mumbling “I want him to die” in Mandarin. 

When asked why she and her colleagues did not pull him away, she said that they did not know if he had weapons or what he could do to them.

The police arrived soon afterwards and arrested him.

Related topics

murder schizophrenia court crime acquittal

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