SINGAPORE — A 51-year-old man who was unhappy with his housemate fatally stabbed the latter in the chest with a kitchen knife which tore through his heart at a flat in Teck Whye in August 2017, the High Court heard on Tuesday (16 February).
The 35-year-old victim, Mohammad Roslan Zaini, made his way to a grass patch where he collapsed and was found by a passer-by who called the police.
On Tuesday, Mohammad Rosli Abdul Rahim claimed trial to one charge of murder for intentionally causing bodily injury sufficient to cause death.
The court heard from the prosecution that in one police statement, Rosli told investigators, "I wanted to use the knife to hurt (the victim) as I was angry with him cursing my mother. I did not have the intention to kill him."
In another statement, Rosli said, "I lost my patience reasoning the matters with him. I only wanted to injure him to teach him a lesson. I have no intention to kill him."
Victim offered housing to accused
Around November 2016, the victim approached Rosli who was homeless and suggested that they co-rent the victim's flat.
They registered their names with the Housing and Development Board as co-tenants and agreed to split the monthly rent.
In August 2017, Rosli began to suspect that the victim was over-charging him for his share of the monthly rent. Around the same time, the victim also ended his romantic relationship with a married woman whom Rosli knew for over 10 years and regarded as a sister. She complained to Rosli about her unhappiness with the victim.
On 16 August 2017, the day of the stabbing, three friends went to Rosli's and the victim's home to watch a movie together with them at about 1am. One friend left at about 2am.
At about 4am, according to the prosecution, the victim began arguing with Rosli over money, in particular, the payments towards the rent and utilities of their unit.
Accused stabbed victim with knife
Angered, Rosli took a knife with a 17cm-long blade from the kitchen and confronted the victim in the living room.
"The accused stabbed the deceased and caused the fatal wound in the deceased’s chest which eventually cost the deceased’s life. The stab was delivered with such force that the knife penetrated the deceased’s sternum and perforated the right ventricle of the heart, terminating at a depth of approximately 11 to 13cm," Deputy Public Prosecutor Yang Ziliang told Justice Dedar Singh Gill.
"The deceased tried to fend off the accused’s vicious attack with his bare hands, but he was unsuccessful and received numerous wounds instead. The accused also stabbed the deceased two more times – in the right forearm and right thigh. Both stabs resulted in wounds at least 11-cm deep," added the prosecutor.
The two friends witnessed the attack and fled, with one asking his sister to call the police.
The victim struggled down four storeys of stairs and reached a grass patch in front of Block 165A Teck Whye Crescent before collapsing. A bus driver who was on her way to work saw the victim covered in blood. He lifted his head, coughed once and then remained motionless. She called the police.
Policemen followed the trail of blood back to the unit. But Rosli had fled and officers arrested the culprit later that morning at about 10.15am at the void deck of Block 6 Teck Whye Avenue. Drugs were found in his haversack.
Rosli admitted to a government psychiatrist that he consumed Nitrazepam around the time of the offence. However, the doctor found that the drug did not significantly influence Rosli's mental state and there was no impairment to Rosli's mental responsibility in causing the victim's death.
Rosli told the psychiatrist, "I thought he would never die. I wanted to teach him a lesson. I did not intend to kill him."
The trial continues.
If found guilty of his charge, Rosli faces the death penalty or life behind bars.
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