Faced with money issues and a gambling problem, Teo Ghim Heng, 43, was charged with two counts of murder for killing his wife and daughter on 20 Jan 2017, one week before Chinese New Year.
Teo racked up a “serious financial debt” of about S$70,000. He had borrowed money from colleagues over the years and had overdue kindergarten school fees and credit card debts.
On the tragic day of the incident, Teo was arguing with his wife about the school fees. In the heat of the moment, He wrapped a towel around his pregnant wife’s neck and strangled her before doing the same to his four-year-old daughter.
He then allegedly tried to commit suicide but failed in all attempts. He purportedly had wanted to kill himself in the blaze when he set the bodies on fire but aborted his attempt as it was too hot.
He slept beside the bodies on the same bed with the air-conditioner turned on to delay the decomposition process. He only left the flat to buy food and air freshener.
The charred bodies were found only eight days later when Gordon Choong, brother of victim Choong Pei Shan, called the police after noticing a pungent odour as he forced open one of the windows.
Police officers and firefighters responded to the call. Just as the firefighters were about to force their way in, Teo opened the door and told Mr Choong that his sister was dead.
He initially claimed that he had made a suicide pact with his wife a few weeks before, but later admitted that he had strangled his wife and daughter.
Teo is charged for murder, with the intention of causing death, which carries the mandatory death penalty. However, the third charge of killing his unborn son is put on hold for now.
Starting 2 Jul, the prosecution will call about 60 witnesses for the trial, which is set to run for the rest of the week and into next week.
Deputy Public Prosecutors Han Ming Kuang, Dilon Kok and Ng Jun Chong plan to call a consultant from the Institute of Mental Health, who examined Teo while remanded, to testify that he has no mental disorder.
If found guilty of murder, Teo faces the death penalty.
If you are having difficulties clearing your debts, please get assistance from organizastions such as the Credit Counselling Singapore (CCS) and Debt Advisory Centre (DAC). Do not let things become a tragedy, get help today.