'I just wanted her to keep quiet': Trial in UK begins for Singaporean who smothered wife with pillow

SINGAPORE – A 51-year-old Singaporean accused of murdering his wife while on holiday in Newcastle, United Kingdom, is said to have suffocated her with a hotel pillow after she nagged at him.

Fong Soong Hert denied murdering Madam Pek Ying Ling, also 51,and told the jury in Newcastle Crown Court that he had “no memory whatsoever” and had diminished responsibility for allegedly killing his wife, British broadcaster BBC reported on Monday (Aug 1).

Prosecutor Peter Makepeace QC said Madam Pek was unhappy with Fong as he continued to smoke while he was unwell on their trip.

Madam Pek was pronounced dead at the County Aparthotel in Newcastle at 7.32am on Dec 6 2021.

The couple were on holiday and had plans to meet with one of their sons.

According to the Daily Mail, the Newcastle Crown Court heard on Monday (August 1) that on the night of the incident, Fong messaged their son, who was studying at a university in Newcastle. His text read: “I have hurt your mother. She’s gone. She’s dead. I just lost it. I tried to cover her mouth to shush her. I just lost it.”

Fong later told police: “I just wanted her to keep quiet.”


Fong denied murdering Madam Pek but pleaded guilty to manslaughter, with the BBC reporting that the jury heard that he had “no memory whatsoever” of the killing.

The prosecutor told the court that there was no known history of violence between the couple but according to one son, Madam Pek was known to scold her husband.

Fong had injured himself in a fall during their stay on Isle of Skye, an island off the coast of Scotland, and had visited the hospital.

He fell another three times after that in Newcastle, which led to Madam Pek “scolding him for not taking care of himself”, said the prosecutor.

Madam Pek was found by emergency services lying with her legs hanging over the bottom of the bed and a pillow over her face, reported the BBC.

The trial that started on Monday is expected to continue till next week.

This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.


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