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Bukit Batok family tragedy: Girl, 15, killed 84-year-old grandfather before jumping to her death

Teen wrote in her diary that she had mental health issues, but police could not determine what happened between the pair in their flat

The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)
The Singapore State Courts. (PHOTO: Dhany Osman / Yahoo News Singapore)

SINGAPORE — A 15-year-old girl killed her grandfather in a Bukit Batok flat for reasons unknown, before taking her own life by jumping from a nearby block in June 2022. A coroner's court labelled the death of 84-year-old Teo An Nee as "an unlawful killing" on Wednesday (29 November).

Coroner Christopher Goh said that, besides the teenager, it appeared that no one else was involved in Teo's death, as he was found with at least seven stab wounds on his torso in a flat at Block 363 Bukit Batok Street 31 on 23 June last year, and was later pronounced dead by paramedics.

His granddaughter, Ellis Teo, was discovered on a grass patch several blocks away that same day. She had gone to the 25th storey of Block 115 Bukit Batok West Avenue 6 and jumped to her death.

The investigating officer (IO), Sergeant Quek Jun Cai, told the court the police could not determine what happened between the pair shortly before the tragedy, as Teo and Ellis were the only ones in the flat. Her parents were not home, and there was no closed-circuit television footage captured inside the unit.

Teen's diary entries found no ill intention towards grandfather

The IO said that Ellis' diary was discovered and, based on her entries, she did not reveal any ill intention towards her grandfather. However, the teenagers wrote that she had faced difficulties when she tried to teach Teo how to use his phone, as she was not proficient in Chinese.

Ellis had also stated in her diary entries that she was lonely and had wanted to take her own life. She wrote that she had mental health issues, but there were no official medical reports that she had them. While her friends knew of suggestions that she had wanted to kill herself, her parents were not aware of this and did not suspect that there was anything wrong, said the investigation officer.

The court also heard that Ellis, who was noted to be a quiet girl by both family and friends, did not like loud sounds.

An unnamed relative had told investigators that she could have been “triggered” by the ringtone of the elderly man’s phone. However, police found that there were no messages, phone calls nor alarms set during the period of time when the killing occurred.

Called mother before taking own life

On the day of the tragedy, Ellis did not leave her flat before killing her grandfather. Camera footage at the block showed that Teo came home at around 2.30pm, and Ellis left the premises shortly after 5pm, with a plaster on her left hand.

There were no signs of a break-in, and the footprints and DNA found at the scene at the time belonged only to the two of them.

After leaving the flat, Ellis called her mother, saying she did not wish to go home and that she had done something that would make her mum angry. She took her own life soon after.

At around the same time, her mother returned home and found that the family dog had a bloodstained mouth. The mother found Teo lying face up in the master bedroom, covered in blood, with a knife near him.

She called her husband, who alerted the police, and paramedics pronounced the elderly man dead at the scene. Ellis’ shirt, which was stained with Teo’s blood, was found in a pail in the flat.

The family members were not in court on Wednesday, and had consistently maintained that they had no interest in attending the coroner's inquiry.

If you have thoughts of suicide or are feeling distressed, you can call the Samaritans of Singapore's 24-hour hotline at 1767. You can also email pat@sos.org.sg.

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