Singaporean jailed 10 years for fatally stabbing wife more than 30 times

Pleading guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide, Jonit, 39, was sentenced in the High Court on yesterday to 10 years’ imprisonment. — TODAY pic
Pleading guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide, Jonit, 39, was sentenced in the High Court on yesterday to 10 years’ imprisonment. — TODAY pic

SINGAPORE, July 13  — When his young daughters told him that his wife, who had applied for a divorce and a personal protection order against him, returned home late the previous night after a possible date, Mohamad Jonit Adnan flew into a jealous rage.

He picked up a kitchen knife, went into his wife’s bedroom, and stabbed her multiple times in her neck, shoulder, chest and abdomen — in full view of their 10-year-old daughter.

Sri Idayu Ghazali was taken to the hospital, where she died from her injuries early next morning.

Pleading guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide, Jonit, 39, was sentenced in the High Court on yesterday to 10 years’ imprisonment.

Also present in court were his and Idayu’s relatives, who sobbed as the sentence was read out.

Deputy public prosecutor (DPP) Zhuo Wenzhao told the court that the couple had been married since 2007 but had a rocky relationship. 

Jonit did not have a stable job, and even had another son with a woman he was having an affair with.

Eventually, Idayu applied for a divorce in March 2016. About four months later, she then took out a personal protection order against Jonit.

Court documents did not state why.

Jonit moved out of their Yishun Ring Road flat, and Idayu’s parents moved in to stay with her and their two children.

On the day of the incident on Aug 13, 2016, Jonit went over and took their daughters, aged 10 and 11, to a nearby playground. Suspecting that she was going out with another guy, he asked them if Idayu had stayed out late the previous day. They said yes.

At about 8.15pm, he took them back to the flat, then went into the kitchen, took a knife with a 11cm blade, and put it in the back pocket of his jeans.

After Idayu’s mother left the flat with their older daughter to go to a nearby shop, Jonit went into the master bedroom, where Idayu was using her phone on the bed. He asked her if she had gone out the previous night, and she told him it was not his business to know.

Upon hearing Idayu’s reply, Jonit took out the kitchen knife and began repeatedly stabbing her.

When she began shouting sakit (Malay for “pain”), their younger daughter rushed into the bedroom and saw Jonit stabbing Idayu.

When he saw his daughter in the room, Jonit ran out, threw the knife out of the window, and left the flat.

His daughter then ran down to the shop to inform her grandmother and elder sister what happened.

Jonit subsequently surrendered to police officers who were called to the scene.

Paramedics brought Idayu to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital, where she was found to have extensive stab wounds over her face, chest, abdomen and hands. Emergency operations, blood transfusions and other resuscitation efforts proved futile. She died at 4.26am the next morning.

An autopsy found that Idayu died from extensive haemorrhage from stab wounds.

Eight of the at least 30 stab wounds were sufficient to cause death.

Asking for at least 10 years’ jail and no caning, Zhuo — who prosecuted the case with Bhajanvir Singh — called the attack “brutal and persistent”.

An Institute of Mental Health report showed that Jonit suffered from a major depressive disorder episode at the time of the offence. The report further stated that while he was not of unsound mind then, the severity of his symptoms would have substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his actions.

DPP Zhuo noted that his condition “did not severely impact his ability to understand the nature and consequences of his acts, to make reasoned decisions, or to control his impulses”.

Jonit had also written suicide notes and hid them in his adoptive mother’s home, admitting that he wanted his family members to find the notes so he could get their support. Zhuo argued that this meant he was “not entirely depressed”.

“The totality of the evidence shows that the accused’s major depressive episode arose out of his marital problems and his suspicion that the deceased was going out with another man. This explains why the symptoms of the accused’s depression dissipated upon his killing of the deceased,” the prosecutor pointed out.

In fact, he said that Jonit had taken steps to find out if Idayu was unfaithful by checking her Facebook account and monitoring her WhatsApp usage.

Jonit’s assigned lawyer, Sadhana Rai, asked for five to seven years’ jail, arguing that the act had been spontaneous, and Jonit’s self-control and restraint were limited by his mental disorder.

Rehabilitation should be the primary sentencing consideration, she said.

“He now carries this unbearable burden that he caused the death of the woman he loved the most,” Sadhana added.

However, this cut no ice with Justice Chua Lee Ming, who agreed with the prosecution that more emphasis should be placed on deterrence and retribution for sentencing.

For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Jonit could have been jailed up to 20 years, and fined or caned. — TODAY