'Not once had my dad laid a finger on my mum': Son on man accused of murdering wife in UK

Jean Iau
The Straits Times
Aug 3, 2022

The son of a Singaporean man accused of murdering his wife in Britain testified on Tuesday (Aug 2) that his father was protective of his mother and he never saw him lay a finger on her.

Fong Soong Hert, 51, is facing trial in Newcastle for murdering his wife, Madam Pek Ying Ling, 51, by smothering her with a pillow in a hotel while they were on holiday last December.

On Tuesday, British broadcaster BBC reported that the couple's eldest son, Mr Alonzo Fong, 26, told the Newcastle Crown Court: "For my 26 years of life, not once had my dad laid a finger on my mum.

"There's never been an argument of physicality, even when he was on his medication or when he was stressed.

"He would always protect my mother."

He added: "I think I know my father very well. I would never think of any circumstance he would seek to hurt my mother."

Madam Pek was pronounced dead at the County Aparthotel in Newcastle at 7.32am on Dec 6 last year.

The couple, who had been married for 27 years, have three adult sons in their 20s and were travelling around the United Kingdom and Europe.

Earlier on Monday, the court heard that Fong called Mr Fong, who was studying in Newcastle at the time, and said he had hurt his mother.

He told his son: "She's gone. She's dead. I just lost it. I tried to cover her mouth to shush her. I just lost it."

Prosecutor Peter Makepeace said the son sent his father several text messages advising him to stay put and wait for him and the police.

Fong replied that he was sorry and wanted to die.

The couple had earlier returned from the hospital on the night of Dec 5, after Fong had fallen and an ambulance was called.

BBC reported on Tuesday that during the couple's stay in the UK, Fong had suffered a number of falls that required hospital treatment, including one from a height of about 15m while he was taking photographs in Scotland.

The court heard on Monday that Fong has "no memory whatsoever of the killing but accepts that he must have placed a pillow over his wife's face and smothered her to death".

He has denied murdering Madam Pek but pleaded guilty to manslaughter, arguing that he did not intend to kill her or cause her really serious bodily harm.

Mr Makepeace earlier told the court that Madam Pek would scold her husband for not taking proper care of himself.

According to the BBC, when asked what that meant, Mr Fong said on Tuesday: "When I say scold, I'm not sure what the understanding is in the UK for that word, but in Singapore it's mostly like a telling off.

"For example, if my mum saw my dad doing a certain thing she would ask why, that's what I meant by the word scold.

"She would be constantly asking him to go to the hospital to get checked and stop acting so tough."

ST reported earlier that the couple left Singapore on Oct 24 last year and travelled to Abu Dhabi in the United Arab Emirates, Croatia and Scotland, before arriving in Newcastle, where they met Mr Fong on Dec 3.

The couple watched a football match between Newcastle United and Burnley, their youngest son told ST in an exclusive interview.

They had planned to meet their second and youngest sons during their trip, which would have concluded in Germany on Jan 13.

The trial is expected to conclude next Tuesday.

The Straits Times

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