Crime & Courts

Indonesian couple jailed 35 years each for murdering employer

JOHOR BARU: An Indonesian couple were sentenced to 35 years in prison each by the High Court today for the murder of their employer in Kulai three years ago.

Judge Datuk Abu Bakar Katar handed down the sentence on Bartolomeus Fransceda and his wife, Ekalia, both 23, who pleaded guilty to the murder charge.

The judge ordered the couple to serve jail from the date of their arrest, which was March 21, 2020, and also for Bartolomeus to be given 12 strokes of the cane for the offence.

In his judgement, Abu Bakar said the sentence on the accused was made after considering the oral and written submissions for mitigating the sentence by the lawyer for both accused, submissions on the weighting of the sentence by the Deputy Public Prosecutor and the Abolition of Mandatory Death Penalty Act 2023.

"This court also takes into account the victim's impact statement and the facts of the case presented by the prosecution as well as the principles of sentencing," he said.

Bartolomeus, a gardener, and his wife, a domestic maid, had pleaded guilty to the charge last Nov 29.

They confessed to jointly killing Lau Yen Na, 73, in a house on Jalan Anak Bukit, Palm Resort Senai, Kulai, at 2 pm on March 17, 2020.

The charges were framed under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which is punishable by death, or between 30 and 40 years imprisonment, and at least 12 strokes of the cane, upon conviction.

Based on investigations and closed circuit TV footage of the scene, the couple killed Lau with a small, sharp two-pronged hoe measuring 50 centimetres, hitting her on the head while she was resting, and taking off with her Toyota Alphard vehicle and mobile phone.

The couple then headed to Kuala Lumpur to meet their friends to seek work but were later nabbed at a restaurant in Petaling Jaya, Selangor, on March 21, 2020.

The pathology report showed the cause of death as multiple slash wounds to the head. The victim's DNA was found on the weapon and Ekalia's DNA was also detected on a pillowcase.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Muhammad Syafiq Mohd Ghazali prosecuted while lawyer Ooi Pen Lyn represented the couple. --BERNAMA

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