Man jailed 8½ years for killing son-in-law

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A semi-retired businessman who fatally stabbed his son-in-law in front of a lunchtime crowd three years ago was sentenced to 8½ years’ jail on Monday (Sept 21) in what Justice Dedar Singh Gill described as a “tragic” case.

Tan Nam Seng, 72, was unhappy with how the younger man had treated his daughter and believed that it was part of a ploy to cheat him of his business.

Tan had pleaded guilty last month to a reduced charge of culpable homicide for stabbing Mr Spencer Tuppani, 39, in the chest three times outside a Telok Ayer Street coffee shop at about 1.20pm on July 10, 2017.

Closed-circuit television footage played in court showed Mr Tuppani running away and collapsing in front of a restaurant in Boon Tat Street.

The older man was seen in the footage kicking Mr Tuppani twice in the face and chasing passers-by away.

While waiting for the police to arrive, Tan phoned his daughter to tell her what he had done.

I can’t sleep at night. I have done it. I have killed him. Don’t cry. I am old already. I am not scared (of) going to jail,” he told her.

Tan was originally charged with murder but the charge was reduced after he was found to be suffering from a major depressive disorder.

The High Court heard that he was unhappy with how Mr Tuppani had treated his daughter and believed that it was part of a plan to cheat him of his business.

According to reports gathered by Sociend Media, Tan was on the way to the office at Cecil Court when he saw Mr Tuppani in Telok Ayer Street. When he reached his office, Tan went to the pantry to look for a knife, and then headed to the coffee shop.

He told Mr Tuppani “you are too much” in Hokkien before pulling the knife out of his sling bag and stabbing the younger man.

After Mr Tuppani collapsed in Boon Tat Street, Tan told passers-by:

“This is my son-in-law, don’t help him, let him die.”

He then placed the bloodied knife on a table beside him and calmly sat on a nearby chair.

When Ms Shyller Tan cried over the phone after hearing what he had done, he told her:

“What’s done cannot be undone.”

The maximum sentence for culpable homicide is life imprisonment and caning. Tan cannot be caned as he is above the age of 50.

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