Police in Stung Treng province have rubbished the defence of a man who claimed to have killed his wife as part of an unfinished murder-suicide driven by his shame at being accused of sorcery.
Su Reth, 44, returned to his home in Thala Barivat district’s Anlong Phe commune drunk on Sunday night and told his wife, Voeun Ley, 39, that he had been accused of being a sorcerer, said Svay Chan, deputy commune police chief.
“He told us that he and his wife were committing suicide together because they could not survive the accusations that he knew how to use magic to kill people,” Chan said.
However, Chan added, Reth told police that his wife had urged him to ignore the sorcery claims just before he stabbed her in the chest with a knife.
He had then allegedly attempted to burn down the house and stab himself but his brother-in-law, who saw the incident from his nearby home, stopped him.
This account was dismissed by Doung Sivutha, provincial head of the penal bureau, who said there was no evidence Reth was going to kill himself after stabbing his wife.
He added that under questioning by a judge, Reth admitted that he suspected his wife of having an affair. “There were no villagers who said he was sorcerer and he might have made it up,” Sivutha said.
Oeun Khen, Veal Kor village chief, said he too believed that Reth made up the sorcerer allegations because he was scared and felt guilty for killing his wife, the mother of their five children.