Commonwealth double deaths: Man who killed his mother, grandmother to be detained indefinitely


SINGAPORE: A 25-year-old man will be detained indefinitely at the President’s pleasure after killing his mother and grandmother in 2019 while he was of unsound mind.

Gabriel Lien Goh was acquitted on Friday (Sep 23) of two charges of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, on the grounds of unsound mind. 

The judge ordered that he be kept in safe custody in prison and for the case to be reported to the minister. According to Section 252 of the Criminal Procedure Code, the minister may then order him to be confined in a psychiatric institution, prison or another suitable place of safe custody during the President’s pleasure.

Goh killed his mother, 56-year-old Lee Soh Mui, by stabbing her chest on the morning of Oct 27, 2019 at Block 7A Commonwealth Avenue. Soon after, he killed his 90-year-old grandmother, Madam See Keng Keng, by punching her head multiple times.

Goh had consumed two tabs of lysergide or LSD before attacking his mother and grandmother. He took the second tab as he felt “curious” and wanted to see more psychedelic colours, Deputy Public Prosecutor Timotheus Koh said.

As a result, he was under an acute hallucinogen intoxication, the court heard. He was in an acute psychotic state, experiencing distortions of shapes and time sense, with anxiety and panic symptoms.

He retained only the most fragmentary and sketchy recollections of what happened, the court heard. When he came to his senses, he felt acute dysphoria as he came to terms with his acts and their consequences, said the prosecutor.

DAY OF THE INCIDENT

The court heard that Goh was serving his National Service at the time of the incident in October 2019. He stayed in a flat in Commonwealth with his mother, grandmother and a domestic helper.

On Oct 27, 2019, Goh took a tab of LSD after lunch by placing it under his tongue for about half an hour. He experienced sensory changes and took a second tab about one-and-a-half hours later.

Sometime that evening, he left home and returned with a knife. The maid heard Goh’s mother telling him that she wanted to talk to him in his room, and she later heard the woman shouting Goh’s name.

The maid then saw Goh standing in front of his mother, who was on the floor. He had stabbed his mother in the chest and again in the head.

The maid fled with Goh’s grandmother. A neighbour saw the maid outside and noticed Goh walking towards them. 

He opened his door to let Goh’s grandmother and maid into his flat, but before they could enter, Goh punched his grandmother in the face.

She fell and hit the railing, and the neighbour told Goh to calm down, but Goh punched him and caused him to fall.

The maid took Goh’s grandmother into the neighbour’s flat. She was bleeding from her face and sat on a stool. Goh followed them and grabbed the maid’s wrist.

She broke free and ran out of the unit, calling her friends and Goh’s older brother to ask them to call the police.

Goh’s grandmother asked for tissues as she was bleeding, but Goh refused and stared at the neighbour before punching him multiple times. The neighbour fell to the floor and curled up to protect himself.

Goh then punched his grandmother multiple times while she was seated on the stool. He left the flat after she was covered in blood.

The neighbour called the police. Before Goh was arrested that evening, he continued attacking other neighbours and members of the public before being pinned down by four people.

Goh’s urine samples contained LSD. The court heard that Goh began consuming the drug in December 2018 and had done so three times before the incident. He would usually buy LSD tabs for S$30 to S$35 each.

Autopsies showed that his mother died of a fatal stab wound to her chest and Goh’s grandmother died of head injuries. She was found with multiple fractures on her face.

A senior consultant at the Institute of Mental Health assessed Goh and found that he was under acute hallucinogen intoxication at the time of the incident, resulting in clinically significant problematic behaviour.

This includes paranoid ideation of harm and persecution, impaired judgment and reality distortion. He also experienced depersonalisation and derealisation.

He knew full well the effects of LSD as he had previously researched it, but wanted to take a second tab out of curiosity, said the prosecutor.

Goh had experienced paranoia after taking LSD a few months before the incident. The court heard that Goh was in an acute psychotic state characterised by waves of exultation, alternating with fear and terror after consuming the second LSD tablet.

He experienced distortions, including of shapes and time, and was acutely paranoid. He was possibly hallucinating when he scuffled with his neighbours and the members of the public he met downstairs.

Because of his state, he was deprived of the mental capacity to know and appreciate the nature and wrongfulness of his acts, said the prosecutor.

The court heard that Goh had also previously experimented with cannabis and nitrazepam, and had alcohol dependence.

Goh listened to proceedings with his head down most of the time. He gave a nod to his family members who were in the public gallery when he was first brought in.

In early court hearings after Goh was first charged in 2019, he apologised to his relatives, saying what happened was an accident and that he “never intended for those things to happen”.



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