Brother of woman who beat housemate to death apologises for her acts, calls for respect of sentence
The couple's lawyer Josephus Tan said their family experienced significant backlash in the past few days.
The brother of Tan Hui Zhen, the woman convicted of beating her intellectually disabled housemate to death, has apologised to the public for his sister’s heinous behaviour.
Tan and her husband Pua Hak Chuan received their final sentences (of 16.5 and 14 years’ jail respectively) on Friday, for a case that was originally supposed to be tried as murder.
Tan’s and Pua’s charges were amended after forensic pathologist reports showed that Annie Ee’s death did not result directly from their actions.
According to Channel NewsAsia, Tan’s brother — the eldest of 4 children — who only wanted to be known as Mr Tan, said they are not in any position to judge if the sentence was appropriate or not.
He reportedly said:
“It’s a fact that someone had done something wrong. Justice has been upheld too. As for whether the sentence is sufficient, it’s actually very subjective. We should respect the law and the court’s decision…
My sister and my brother-in-law owe the deceased’s family an apology. But an apology is not enough even though it’s the least to be expected of us, so I’d like to apologise here publicly.”
Pua’s mother, speaking through the couple’s lawyer Josephus Tan, also expressed her “deepest apologies” for the unfortunate incidents, and apologised to the late Ee’s family as well.
“My son has gotten what he deserved.”
Family dealt with significant backlash
Previously, a petition seeking harsher sentences for the couple gathered more than 20,000 signatures, reflecting the extent of public outrage when news of the case broke.
Josephus Tan told reporters that his female client’s family had endured much backlash for the last few days.
In a plea to the public to let the case rest, Tan’s brother added that while the public is free to air their views, he hopes they will exercise restraint, and also “draw lessons from this and treat one another with respect and not just give way to [their] own anger and pressure”.
While Tan’s mother did not show up in court on Friday, she submitted a letter of petition — parts of which her brother shared. The Tan family, she wrote, had a history of domestic abuse, and Tan (Hui Zhen) had suffered three miscarriages amid a history of self-harm.
“It wasn’t a happy childhood… though it can’t justify what Tan had done”.
Top image via Change.org petition