After a disagreement with his lover who did not want to cover up her pregnancy, a Malaysian man is suspected to have stabbed her to death before twice setting her on fire to cover his tracks, local police said.
The incident was brought to light after the discovery of a partially burnt body in an oil palm plantation in Sungai Besar, Selangor, was reported to the police on Tuesday morning.
Images of a woman’s charred body lying on a burnt patch of grass were circulated online.
The police on Tuesday arrested a 20-year-old man, who had just completed his studies at a local college and was allegedly having an affair with the 21-year-old woman, who was a waitress at a local restaurant.
Preliminary investigations revealed that the suspect had driven the pregnant woman to the plantation on Monday where they got into an argument in his car, a Selangor district police chief Agus Salim said on Wednesday, Bernama reported.
The pair had known each other for about a year and the victim was around four months’ pregnant, Mr Agus said, showing reporters a photo of an ultrasound scan taken just five days before the murder.
The alleged offender is believed to have lost his temper after she refused to keep her pregnancy – believed to be a result of their illicit sexual relationship – a secret, Mr Agus said.
After a struggle, the man beat the victim until she passed out at around 10pm, the police said. But he did not stop at that.
He then slashed his lover’s abdomen with a kitchen knife and disembowelled her before setting her on fire using petrol to destroy evidence, the police said.
He returned to the crime scene on a motorcycle at around 7am the next day and made another attempt to burn the body. Witnesses told local media that the body was still burning when it was discovered by a member of the public.
The man also discarded his weapon and other evidence a few kilometres away from the plantation, but was arrested at a relative’s house at around 1.45pm on Tuesday.
He tested negative for drug use and had no prior criminal record, police said. He is suspected to have acted alone and has been remanded until Monday to assist in the murder investigation. He faces the death penalty if found guilty.
The woman’s body, which was reported to be 60 per cent burnt, was taken to the Sungai Buloh Hospital for forensic examinations. A photo of her has been circulated online.
Netizens in Malaysia uncovered the alleged offender’s TikTok account, where he describes himself as having the soul of a “rempit”, a subculture of motorcycle riders in the country.
Numerous videos show him with a woman, who is not the murder victim, described as “The Girlfriend”. Another account, believed to belong to the man’s girlfriend, has a video screenshot of a chat seemingly between the two, with her telling him “if you are heartbroken, don’t look for someone else” and that she was “lucky” to have his love.
A neighbour of the murdered woman told Malaysian newspaper Berita Harian that she was an orphan who lived with two siblings, describing her as a woman of few words.
This article was first published in The Straits Times. Permission required for reproduction.