On 18 January, a Nigerian, Mr Amamchukwu Chukwuma, 28, who killed his Singaporean lover, Angela Liu Shuhui, 25, was sentenced to 12 years in prison.
The High Court, presided over by Justice Lee Seiu Kin, heard that Chukwuma entered Singapore on a social visit pass to explore business opportunities in October 2007, but stayed on illegally after his pass expired in February 2008. Also known as Ben, he was said to have started his relationship with Angela, then a cashier in a supermarket, almost as soon as he arrived the country. The affair was turbulent from the onset.
The court was told that in April 2008, the two lovers rented a room in Bukit Panjang, but that the landlord evicted them when he could no longer put up with their constant quarrelling.
In September 2008, Angela moved back to her parents’ home, while Amamchukwu made a makeshift home with wooden boards and newspapers in a forested area in Bukit Panjang Park, in order to remain close to her. In June 2009, he acted on a plan hatched by Angela to cheat a Filipino maid of her money, successfully duping her of about 2,000 Singaporean dollars.
Between August and September 2009, Amamchukwu found out that Angela was seeing another man. That discovery wrecked their relationship and they went their different ways. Angela left Singapore to India where she joined her new boyfriend. Amamchukwu resumed a relationship with another woman from Malaysia, known as Siti, and moved into her flat in Boon Lay.
In mid-December 2009, Angela returned to Singapore. She called Amamchukwu and they met on 22 December. After he retrieved his old clothes and photos that were still in her home, he suggested they go to his former makeshift home in the nearby park.
But as she lit the path in the forested area with her mobile phone, Amamchukwu scolded her, sparking a quarrel, and then a scuffle. After Angela kicked Amamchukwu in the groin, he retaliated by strangling her to death. He removed her clothes and burnt them, and then sold her mobile phone.
Meanwhile, Angela’s boyfriend in India had contacted her father, claiming that Amanchukwu had kidnapped her, and the matter was reported to the police. Seven days later, Angela’s highly decomposed body was found. Shortly after, police traced Amanchukwu to the flat of his other (Malaysian) woman, Siti, in Boon Lay, and arrested him.
Before Amamchukwu was sentenced, his lawyer, Mr Wendell Wong, had pleaded with the judge, that a jail sentence of 10 years or less would be appropriate, considering the “grave and sudden provocation” by the victim, “which deprived him of his self control”.
Justice Lee accepted that the murder was not premeditated and that there was some degree of provocation by Angela. But he maintained that Amamchukwu had “intentionally (caused) her death and cruelly snuffed out” her life. In sentencing Amamchukwu to 12 years, he said there was a need to “balance retribution and rehabilitation”.