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Man tells court he strangled girlfriend

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Chan Sopheak is escorted by officials yesterday at Phnom Penh Municipal court where he was tried for allegedly murdering his girlfriend. Niem Chheng

Man tells court he strangled girlfriend

A man confessed yesterday at the Phnom Penh Municipal Court to having strangled his girlfriend out of jealousy. Chan Sopheak was arrested on October 29, five days after the body of karaoke hostess Ang Vanna, 22, was found in a guesthouse room in Daun Penh district’s Srass Chak commune.

Sopheak, 38, told the judge yesterday that he strangled Vanna out of jealousy, as she was seeing another man.

“I told her a few times that I would kill her if she betrayed me,” Sopheak said. He said that while they were in the guesthouse, he caught Vanna chatting with her new boyfriend, which enraged him.

“A man called her by Facebook chat. She talked to him, which irritated me. She then asked me to break up. I stood in front of her [and] strangled her to death in just a short time,” he said. He denied that he had planned the killing, however, claiming that he had just warned her so that she would stop contacting others.

Sopheak, who worked as a roofer before his arrest, is charged with premeditated murder, which carries a potential a life sentence if found guilty.

Defence counsel Kim Sambath requested the court change the charge to aggravated intentional violence resulting in the death of the victim, which would put him behind bars between seven and 15 years.

At the hearing’s conclusion, Sopheak did not ask the judge to reduce his sentence, but instead asked for money he said he wished to use for his recently deceased mother’s funeral costs, saying he did “not even have enough money for a banana” to pray for her.

A verdict is due March 28.

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