The couple’s marriage of 21 years had soured, and Rosdi Joenet suspected his wife was having an affair. In the early hours of Nov 17, 2012, Rosdi stabbed Faridah Senin to death with a kitchen knife in their marital home at Jurong West. For that, he was sentenced to nine years in jail on Monday (Mar 7).
The couple’s three children, aged 14 to 21, were woken by their mother’s screams. Their father told them he had “reasons” for killing Faridah, then 41. Rosdi then tearfully called the police to report: “Murder. I am the husband. My wife. I am unable to say anything now.”
Faridah, who worked as a security officer, was pronounced dead at the scene.
The court heard Monday that Rosdi, now 51, had woken up around 5am and armed himself with a kitchen knife with a 20 centimetre-long blade before locking himself in the bedroom with Faridah.
This was after Faridah had told him off and chased him away when he tried to discuss their marital problems.
Faridah’s elderly mother was busy in the kitchen, but rushed to the room she shared with her daughter when she heard Faridah’s screams. The 67-year-old demanded Rosdi open the door, but Rosdi replied that he was having a discussion with his wife.
The elderly woman heard her daughter begging Rosdi not to kill her, but when Rosdi emerged from the bedroom, he told Faridah’s mother that he had killed her daughter. He also told his three children, two sons and a daughter, that he had “reasons” for killing their mother. The children rushed into the bedroom, where they found their mother lying motionless on the floor and covered in blood.
NO TREATMENT COULD "SPARK ANOTHER TRAGIC EPISODE": PROSECUTION
A 2012 psychiatric report revealed Rosdi had been suffering from a “jealousy subtype” of delusional disorder, which is “typically a chronic and lifelong disorder unless treated”. The Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report recommended one to two years of treatment for Rosdi, and also suggested that the defence of diminished responsibility may be applicable to Rosdi, whose “judgement at the … time was impaired due to his delusions”.
The prosecution urged the court to sentence Rosdi to between eight to 10 years’ jail, pointing to aggravating factors present in the case, such as the multiple serious injuries he inflicted on his wife. An autopsy found 26 injuries on Faridah’s body, two of which were fatal.
Prosecutors also acknowledged Rosdi’s need for psychiatric treatment, which he can receive in prison. If left untreated, he may suffer a relapse, which may in turn “spark off another tragic episode of violence”, the prosecution said. Although psychiatrists have estimated that Rosdi requires about one to two years of treatment, it is difficult to treat this type of disorder, and progress may take years, an IMH psychiatrist said.
Rosdi’s lawyer Abraham Vergis urged the court not to impose more than six years’ jail on his client. Mr Vergis said Rosdi, who worked as a trailer driver for 15 years, had no history of violence or other problems at home or at work. He was “a loving husband and doting father”, the lawyer said. Rosdi’s delusional disorder only became apparent about three months before the killing, when he began to believe that Faridah was lying to him about her whereabouts.
Convinced that his wife was having an affair, Rosdi tried to get their daughter to spy on her, and began incessantly calling Faridah’s workplace to ask after her, Mr Vergis said. Rosdi had also booked a marriage counselling appointment which Faridah failed to attend, which left Rosdi feeling helpless, Mr Vergis told the court.
Turning to Rosdi’s mental state, the lawyer said Rosdi’s “paranoid delusions of infidelity against his … wife” and his “fear of losing her” was exacerbated when Faridah did not turn up for counselling, and informed her husband she would be going overseas alone for a few days later that year. Citing the IMH report, Mr Vergis pointed out that the psychiatrist was of the opinion that “it is unlikely that (Rosdi) would have committed such an offence if he was not suffering from (the disorder)”.
“He is no longer a threat to himself and to others … (now that the) subject of his delusional disorder is no more”, the lawyer added, saying Rosdi is open to treatment and his family, including his mother-in-law, remain supportive.
For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Rosdi could have faced life imprisonment with caning, or up to 20 years’ jail with caning and/or a fine.