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Foo Soong Hert, aged 51, was accused of murdering his wife, Pek Ying Ling, in a Newcastle hotel room in England. He allegedly suffocated his wife with a pillow to stop her from “nagging him”, the jury had been told.

On 18 March, Fong pleaded guilty to manslaughter but denied the charge of murdering his wife.

The Day of the Murder

Pek was found dead in County Aparthotel, which is located on Westgate Road, Newcastle, on 6 December 2021.

Channel News Asia reported that a post-mortem autopsy later concluded that her injuries were consistent with her being smothered by a pillow.

The couple were vacationing in Europe to visit their children when Pek died.

According to BBC, the Newcastle Crown Court heard that Fong murdered his wife in their hotel room on the morning of 6 December, mere hours before they were supposed to fly to Paris.

After the murder, Fong called his son who was studying in a Newcastle university and told him, “I have hurt your mother. She’s gone. She’s dead.”

Fong was also quoted saying, “I just lost it. I tried to cover her mouth to shush her. I just lost it.”

Prosecutor Peter Makepeace QC noted that there was no known history of violence between the couple.

However, Pek was displeased by the fact that Fong was still smoking despite being unwell, especially since Fong had to visit a hospital in Newcastle after falling a few times during their trip.

Mr Makepeace also stated Fong may have pressed his knees on his wife’s shoulder during the assult in order to achieve the required force to murder her.

Fong’s Defence

With an argument that typically recurs among killers, Fong claimed that he had “no memory whatsoever” of the killing and therefore, should have diminished responsibility for it.

Mr Makepeace wasted no time rejecting his argument.

According to the studies done and observations made online—FBI please don’t look into my internet history too closely—it appears that it takes anywhere from three to at least five minutes to smother someone to death, provided if the oxygen levels and air flow is restricted to deadly levels.

To claim that one has suffered “memory loss” in a haze of rage, without the influence of alcohol or drugs, is a bit of a stretch.

The prosecutor summarised the entire sequence of events succinctly, “He lost his temper, he snapped and he smothered her to death, apparently to stop her scolding him or nagging him or to keep her quiet.”

Numerous Falls During The Trip

According to CNA‘s report, Fong had been seen at the dock wearing a grey sweater, and only speaking to confirm his name and date of birth.

The first time he fell during the trip was on 27 Nov, while the couple was on the Isle of Skye, a small island off the coast of Scotland.

Although he managed to return to the hotel after falling off a steep edge, Fong needed medical assistance from the staff. He was given a mix of painkillers by paramedics before he was brought to the hospital for further examination.

He remained in the hospital overnight and was discharged the following morning, before the pair continued their sightseeing around Scotland in a rental car.

The court was told that Fong returned to the hospital again as he was still in pain.

The prosecution stated that the couple made their way to Edinburgh afterward to meet their eldest son, then went to Newcastle by train.

The family attended a football match together and visited some attractions. In that span of time, Fong had several falls which required another hospital visit.

The couple returned to their lodgings at the County Aparthotel after Fong was discharged from the hospital. They were seen on CCTV entering their room at 12:17am on 6 December, the last time that Pek was seen alive.

The maximum sentence for either murder or manslaughter in Britain is life imprisonment.

The court hearing is expected to last over a week.

Featured Image: Facebook (Northumbria Police)

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