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Man on trial for killing girlfriend in Geylang hotel

Man on trial for killing girlfriend in Geylang hotel

Source: Straits Times
Article Date: 16 Sep 2020
Author: Selina Lum

Bangladeshi painter faces death penalty for 2018 murder of Indonesian domestic worker.

A 31-year-old Bangladeshi painter, who strangled his Indonesian girlfriend of six years after she refused to break up with another man she was seeing, is now facing the mandatory death penalty for murder.

Yesterday, Ahmed Salim went on trial in the High Court for murdering domestic worker Nurhidayati Wartono Surata, 34, in a room at the Golden Dragon Hotel in Geylang on the evening of Dec 30, 2018.

Prosecutors accuse him of intending to kill the woman, as he had brought along a drawstring when they met that day.

"He had been keeping the drawstring with him since discovering the deceased's new relationship on Dec 9, 2018," said Deputy Public Prosecutor Hay Hung Chun.

However, the defence contends that Ahmed had been provoked by the woman, who allegedly told him: "The other man is better than you in bed and better financially. If you don't believe (me), I will take a video next week to show you."

Lawyer Eugene Thuraisingam said the defence was also relying on psychiatric evidence that Ahmed's responsibility for his actions had been reduced because he was suffering from an adjustment disorder at the time.

The prosecutor countered that Ahmed's claim that the woman had uttered those words was "fabricated" and that the accused did not qualify for a diminished-responsibility defence.

The court heard that Ahmed and Ms Nurhidayati started a relationship in May 2012. They went out on alternate Sundays and had sex once a month.

But in mid-2018, she started seeing Bangladeshi plumber Shamin Shamizur Rahman, whom she met once a month on Sundays.

Ahmed suspected that Ms Nurhidayati was cheating on him, and after she admitted she was dating another man, Ahmed told his mother in Bangladesh to help him find a wife.

Soon after, the pair reconciled, but quarrelled over her infidelity.

Once, in a hotel room, Ahmed pressed a towel over Ms Nurhidayati's mouth, but let go after she started struggling.

Some time in late October and early November 2018, she befriended another man on Facebook, Bangladeshi general fitter Hanifa Mohammad Abu.

After she had sex with Mr Hanifa at a hotel in Aljunied, she promised her new beau that she would make a clean break with Ahmed.

On Dec 9, 2018, she told Ahmed that she had a new boyfriend and that he should return to Bangladesh for his arranged marriage.

On Dec 23, 2018, Ahmed and Ms Nurhidayati met at a hotel room, where she told him she would continue seeing him, but after parting ways, she called him to break up with him.

Ahmed convinced her to meet him again on Dec 30, 2018.

"After they had sex at the hotel, the accused repeatedly threatened to kill the deceased if she did not end her relationship with her new boyfriend. When the deceased refused, the accused brutally strangled her with a towel around her neck," said the prosecutor.

The prosecutor said Ahmed put the towel around her neck, pushed the woman onto the bed, stood on the bed and stepped on one end of the towel while he pulled at the other end.

He then wound the drawstring around her neck several times, tightened it and tied a few knots to make sure she was dead.

"He twisted her head from left to right for good measure," the prosecutor said.

Ahmed took $30 from the dead woman, her mobile phone and her ez-link card, and returned to his dormitory at the Sungei Tengah Lodge.

Ms Nurhidayati's body was found at about 10.15pm by a hotel receptionist.

An autopsy found the cause of death to be strangulation and cervical spine injury.

Ahmed was arrested at around 10.45am on Dec 31, 2018.

The trial continues today.

Source: Straits Times © Singapore Press Holdings Ltd. Permission required for reproduction.

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