Businessman, 51, who smothered his wife with a hotel pillow while they were on holiday in the UK so that she would ‘be quiet’ is jailed for life
- Soong Hert Fong travelled with his wife Pek Ying Ling from Singapore to Europe
- On December 6 Fong murdered his wife in County Aparthotel in Newcastle
- He smothered her with a pillow because he, ‘just wanted to keep her quiet’
- Fong has been sentenced to life in prison and must serve a minimum of 12 years
A businessman who smothered his wife with a hotel pillow so she would ‘be quiet’ has been jailed for life.
Soong Fong, 51, and his wife Pek Ying Ling, 51, were on holiday in Newcastle last December when Fong ‘snapped’ and held a pillow over his wife’s face to ‘shush her’ at the County Aparthotel.
He had initially denied murdering Mrs Pek, known as Evelyn Pek, saying he could not remember killing her, but changed his plea to guilty on the fifth day of his trial at Newcastle Crown Court.
On Friday the Recorder of Newcastle, Judge Paul Sloan QC, passed a life sentence with a minimum term of 12 years and six months.
The court heard Fong was a ‘loving and devoted husband’ to his wife of 28 years, and had no history of domestic abuse.
Judge Sloan said the pair had been on holiday in the UK, where Fong suffered a ‘significant fall’ down a ‘near vertical embankment’ while trying to take a photo on the Isle of Skye.
By the time the couple arrived in Newcastle, where one of their three sons was at university, Fong’s barrister Toby Hedworth QC said it was ‘clear there was something significantly wrong with him’.
The court heard Fong collapsed three times in his room at the County Aparthotel, eventually being taken to hospital in an ambulance and discharged with ‘ongoing muscular pain’.
Judge Sloan said: ‘CCTV footage from the hospital and hotel reveals the pain you were in – you had difficulty walking.’
The judge said messages from one of the couple’s sons that night show he had told his mother not to ‘scold’ Fong, and that he later explained in his evidence she ‘had a tendency to keep telling (Fong) what to do and what not to do’.
‘Out of genuine concern for your wellbeing, your wife didn’t heed her son’s advice,’ the judge told Fong.
‘By the time you arrived back at your room you remained in very considerable pain and discomfort. You were physically and mentally worn down.
‘Your wife, who will have been just as anxious and concerned, didn’t let matters rest.
‘I stress, none of what I have just detailed could even begin to excuse what you then proceeded to do, but it perhaps does shed some considerable light upon why a normally loving, caring, protective, patient and gentle man should behave in a way which was so utterly and completely out of character.’
Judge Sloan said Fong pinned his wife down on the bed, placed his knees on her shoulders and put a pillow over her face, holding it until she lost consciousness, and then until she died.
He added it would have lasted ‘minutes not seconds’. Fong phoned his son to tell him his mother was gone, saying he had ‘tried to cover her mouth to shush her’ and ‘just lost it’, the court heard.
He later told police he ‘just wanted her to be quiet’. One of the couple’s sons, Aloysius, read a victim personal statement in court saying he and his three brothers had ‘lost both parents at the same time’.
‘All of Mum’s family are heartbroken. They also view my dad as their son and want him to return safely to Singapore when he is allowed to.
‘We are all devastated about what has happened here in Newcastle.’
He said: ‘Me and my girlfriend have always looked at my parents’ relationship as an inspiration to us, and that has not changed.
‘Anyone who knew them could see how they adored each other.’
Mr Hedworth, mitigating, said: ‘Bewildered, devastated and broken. That is the man to be sentenced this morning. A man now living a nightmare from which he cannot wake.
‘What has been and remains so difficult for the defendant is he still continues to be unable to understand how he could have done such a thing. He continues to have no real recollection of what, in fact, happened in that room that night.’