SINGAPORE, Sept 19 — After a recent fatal incident killed a student from his school, a former teacher of the school wrote an enigmatic poem to the principal, who believed that the poem may be a “death threat”.

The former teacher, Lee Lit Meing, also made an anonymous call using a public phone and accused the principal of being a murderer.

Besides these, Lee sent 19 other anonymous letters with the same poem addressed to the school’s deputy principals, the human resource manager, a secretary, deans and directors. He sent them as well to principals from three other schools and a church elder.

Lee, 46, pleaded guilty on Monday (Sept 19) to two charges under the Protection from Harassment Act that were related to two victims: The principal from the school where the deceased student was studying and a lecturer from another educational institute.

He will be sentenced on Oct 5.

The name of the schools involved, details of the circumstances leading to the student’s death, the victims — the principal and a lecturer from another educational institute — as well as any other information that could lead to their identification, cannot be reported due to a court order.

The court heard that Lee had been a teacher at the school for about three years but had left for some years before the fatal incident happened. He became a private tuition teacher in 2019.

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Tan Zhi Hao said that while Lee was a teacher there, he had been unhappy with the principal’s management style and felt that the principal was a difficult boss.

After Lee left the school, he started sending anonymous WhatsApp messages, letters and emails to harass the principal.

He did so on at least three separate occasions, often relying on “significant events” involving the school in his communications, DPP Tan said. Court documents did not state what these events were.

After the fatal incident involving a student, Lee blamed the principal for the student’s death and sent him an anonymous letter with a poem containing what the prosecution called “abusive” words. The passage read:

“Heavy is the head which weareth the crown.

“Eyes tainted with guilt.

“Tongue defiled by lies.

“Bloody are thy hands which are stained with a child’s blood.”

The final line included the name of the principal, followed by the principal’s birth year and the year the letter was written in brackets.

To the principal, the letter read like an epitaph from a tombstone, DPP Tan said.

The first line was taken from Henry IV, a play by William Shakespeare, while the other lines cast blame of the student’s death on the principal, he added.

The last line was a death threat and gave the impression that the principal would die that year, DPP Tan told the court.

Lee sent each of the letters to the various parties using an envelope from another institution, the National University of Singapore. He found these envelopes at the void deck near the public housing block where he lived and used them to make his offences harder to be traced back to him, DPP Tan said.

To cause further distress, he travelled from his home in Boon Keng to Sengkang where he found a public phone that he used to call the principal.

Over the course of the phone call, Lee told the principal: “You have blood on your hands,” and “You are a murderer. You killed a child.”

Stunned, the principal — who did not recognise Lee’s voice — hung up after telling Lee that the incident was under police investigation and that it was inappropriate for him to comment.

DPP Tan said that the principal was feeling distressed about the fatal incident and felt scared that someone who knew his personal phone number and birth year was threatening him.

The principal then made a police report.

The anonymous calls and letters caused significant alarm to the school’s management, DPP Tan added.

The police conducted a briefing on how the management should deal with subsequent letters and calls, and issued a written advisory on precautionary measures the school can take in the future.

The calls and letters left the principal more cautious whenever he received calls or messages from unknown numbers.

Worried for the safety of his family, the principal no longer allowed his own children to go to school without someone to accompany them.

Separately in April 2020, Lee also sent anonymous WhatsApp messages to a lecturer at an institution that he disliked for being “quite high-handed” and “unkind”. Lee was a trainee at the institution.

He said to her: “Your... stint is testament that those who can’t do, teach. But, come to think of it, you can’t even teach to save your life.”

He added: “After knowing you, I am now enlightened why some women are destined to stay single for life. Just saying.”

Since the anonymous sender knew intimate details about her personal life, previous job postings and phone number, the lecturer became worried what the sender would do with such information, DPP Tan said.

She also feared for the safety of her loved ones, co-workers and herself, and decided to make a police report the next day.

Making threatening, abusive or insulting communication carries a fine of up to S$5,000 or up to six months’ jail, or both. — TODAY