| Fadley Faisal |
A 49-YEAR-OLD counsellor at a local college yesterday pleaded guilty to obstructing a police investigation by concealing a woman’s body under stones and cement at a house compound in Kampong Salambigar, Jalan Muara in February last year.
Haji Harith bin Haji Bakir also pleaded guilty in the Magistrate’s Court to other charges related to the death of the woman with whom he had an intimate relationship.
Senior Magistrate Muhammed Faisal will sentence him today.
Haji Harith also admitted to failing to report the sudden death of 40-year-old Voon Su Ching, putting her body in the house compound and taking the woman’s wallet containing Brunei, Malaysia and Singapore currencies amounting to about BND8,000, a gold locket and a $40 Easi card.
The defendant pleaded for leniency, asking for a fine which he could pay based on his salary of over $3,000.
He said he wants to keep his job as a counsellor at a local college in order to pay debts and rent as well as support his wife and four children, aged 15, 14, 11 and four years.
He apologised to the deceased’s family and said he never thought of harming her.
He said he panicked and was confused when the woman died.
DPP Danial Kifrawi read out the statement of facts in court yesterday.
It was revealed that the defendant had known the woman since 2000 and they had an intimate relationship.
On February 13, 2013 at about 11am, Haji Harith met Voon Su Ching at her friend’s residence in Kampong Salambigar.
The house is near Voon Su Ching’s workplace. She had a spare key to her friend’s residence so that she could rest there as her own flat is in Gadong.
The houseowner had gone out of town and informed Voon Su Ching that she would only be back on February 17.
At about 11.45am, Haji Harith arrived at the house and he and the woman had some intimate moments.
Haji Harith later saw Voon Su Ching breathing heavily, rubbing her chest and coughing heavily.
He also saw pale yellow liquid coming out of the woman’s nose and mouth. She fell to the ground and laid motionless.
He panicked and dressed the woman up and brought the body downstairs.
He put the body in a 10-foot ditch and covered it with several pieces of zinc roofing.
He drove the woman’s car to an area behind an electrical power station near Kampong Salambigar and left the vehicle there.
He took the woman’s handbag which contained her belongings.
He drove towards Kampong Rimba and threw away the woman’s mobile phone, medicine, hospital card and credit cards but kept her wallet containing $7167.90 (Brunei dollars), RM$803.85 (Malaysian ringgit) and $0.05 (Singapore cents) along with a gold locket and a $40 Easi card.
On February 14, 2013, the deceased’s husband reported to the police that his wife had not returned home. He said he last saw her at 11am on February 13, 2013.
The report led to the police to call in Haji Harith for questioning late in the evening of February 14, 2013.
Haji Harith was scared that his involvement in the case would be discovered and he wanted to do more to conceal the woman’s body.
On February 15, 2013 at about 3pm, he went to two companies located at Jalan Tutong and arranged for stones and cement to be delivered to the Kampong Salambigar house.
He used a pseudonym ‘Ali Ahmad’ to purchase two truckloads of stones and one truckload of cement which he paid using the deceased’s money.
On February 16, 2013 when the trucks arrived at the house, the defendant directed the workers to dump the stones and cement over the covered ditch.
On February 18, 2013, the deceased’s husband and brother-in-law went to the Kampong Salambigar house to see the houseowner who had mentioned that she had given a spare house key to the deceased.
The houseowner had also said that stones and cement had been placed on her property and she had noticed a strong stench coming from the concrete.
A neighbour told the houseowner about the trucks which brought the stones and cement.
The police was informed of this new information.
The defendant confessed to what he had done and was arrested.
Fire and Rescue Service personnel drilled into the hardened cement and stones for about 4 ½ hours to recover the body.
An autopsy on the body showed no injuries and no fractures but the state of the body made it impossible to identify any natural diseases or other injuries.