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Life sentence handed to Sihanoukville axe murderer

Loi Sopheak (centre) is escorted through the car park of a Kandal police station in December after he was arrested for murder. CPU
Loi Sopheak (centre) is escorted through the car park of a Kandal police station in December after he was arrested for murder. CPU

Life sentence handed to Sihanoukville axe murderer

The man behind an axe attack on a family of seven that left a mother and daughter dead last December was handed a life sentence by the Preah Sihanouk Provincial Court yesterday morning.

Defendant Loi Sopheak was arrested barefooted in January after a nine-day manhunt that saw police officers and investigators from the Child Protection Unit (CPU) trailing him through several provinces.

“The hearing was held this morning and the verdict announced after the hearing. The accused accepted that he committed [the crime]. When the verdict was announced, he did not have a reaction,” said court spokesman Huot Vichet.

In the days following his arrest, Sopheak confessed to the crime. He also directed investigators to the location where he discarded the bloodied murder weapon he had used to hack at the family as they slept in their home in Preah Sihanouk’s Commune 1 on December 29.

He told investigators that he had become angered over the late mother, Um Phanna, repeatedly hurling insults at him over a chicken she accused him of having stolen.

“The life sentence handed down today reflects the seriousness of the senseless crime this individual committed,” CPU director James McCabe said yesterday.

Sopheak had previously served five years behind bars for armed robbery.

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