SINGAPORE, Nov 30 — A 15-year-old girl killed her grandfather in their Bukit Batok flat before taking her own life in an “unlawful killing”, a coroner’s court found yesterday.
Teo An Nee, 84, was found dead with stab wounds on June 23, 2022.
His granddaughter, Ellis Teo, was discovered on a grass patch several blocks away that same day.
The court heard from the investigating officer on both cases that there was no third party involved, based on the evidence gathered.
Series of events
Teo lived with her parents and paternal grandfather in the flat at Block 363, Bukit Batok Street 31.
On the day of the killing, her parents were at work while the grandfather was seen on police cameras heading home at about 2.30pm.
At about 5pm, Teo was shown leaving the block with a plaster on her left hand.
Records from the public transport card operator EZ-Link showed that she took a train. She then walked to Block 115, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6, where she took the lift to the 25th floor and jumped.
Teo’s mother said that the teenager had called her twice before she was found dead.
The teenager told her mother not to buy milk and said that she did not wish to go home. She also said that she had done something that would make her mother angry.
The investigation officer told the court that Teo’s mother felt it was “weird” but did not know what exactly had happened.
The mother went home at around her usual time of 5.30pm and was greeted by the family dog and its mouth was covered in blood.
She checked her father-in-law’s room and discovered that he was covered in blood, lying near the toilet in a supine position. A knife was on the right side of the body, near the toilet bowl.
The woman and her husband, who had called for an ambulance, decided that she should wash the knife. She placed the knife on the kitchen rack after washing it.
An autopsy found at least seven stab wounds on Teo’s body. A shirt that was part of Teo’s school uniform was found in a mop pail, covered in her grandfather’s blood.
Teo’s DNA was found on the knife blade in the kitchen, but Teo’s DNA could not be found on the knife.
This was likely because her mother had washed the knife, the investigator told the court.
After the two bodies were found, the police searched Teo’s room and found her diary which contained information about her mental health problems and suicidal tendencies.
In diary entries dated 2021, she wrote that she felt lonely and mentioned methods of dying. She also stated that she wanted to kill herself from a public housing block behind her cousin’s home, which was very close to the place where she was later found dead.
The diary did not reveal any ill intention towards her grandfather, although one entry indicated that she faced difficulties when talking to him.
She wrote that she had difficulty talking to him and teaching him to use his phone, because her Mandarin was bad and she could not overcome this problem.
In another entry, she wrote that she had “great parents who care for her” and that she loved her friends.
An unnamed relative said in an interview with the police that Teo might have been “triggered” due to her grandpa’s phone ringtone.
It was stated that Teo, who was noted to be a quiet girl by both family and friends, did not like loud sounds.
However, the police checked Mr Teo’s phone and found that there were no messages, phone calls or alarms set during the period of time when the killing occurred.
The investigating officer said that the police were unable to tell the court what exactly happened when Teo was home alone with his granddaughter.
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.
The police said that the assault likely took place in Teo’s room, near the toilet entrance. However, they were unable to determine what Teo’s motive was.
While Teo’s friends knew of suggestions that the girl wanted to kill herself, her parents were not aware of this and did not suspect that there was anything wrong, the investigation officer said.
The family members of the two Teos had consistently maintained that they had no interest in attending the coroner’s inquiry, the officer added.
The parents of Teo have been administered police warnings for obstructing the course of justice. — TODAY
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There are also free hotlines for young people: Talian Kasih at 15999 (24/7); Talian BuddyBear at 1800-18-2327(BEAR)(daily 12pm-12am); Mental Health Psychosocial Support Service (03-2935 9935 or 014-322 3392); and Jakim’s Family, Social and Community Care Centre (WhatsApp 0111-959 8214).