Police in Battambang province’s Bavel district detained a suspect for questioning after he allegedly hacked a woman to death with a machete in Boeng Pram commune’s Yutethor village. Police said the man was enraged because the victim had spoken ill of his family.

Mey Kimsan, provincial deputy chief of in charge of serious crime, identified the suspect as Soeun Sokna, 31, and the victim as Lay Ky, 53.

“The suspect committed a terrible crime and our police officers immediately arrested him,” he said.

Citing the suspect’s account, Kimsam said the two lived across the street from one another. Sokna said the woman had told other villagers that he always stayed at home and did not do any work. At 7:30pm on May 1, Sokna attacked her from behind with a machete, cutting her throat and killing her instantly.

Kimsan added that after the incident, the suspect walked home, threw the machete into a pond near his house and did not make any effort to escape. When other villagers discovered the woman’s body, they notified commune police – who arrested the man just thirty minutes after the murder.

Commune police chief Kim Sideth said on May 2 that after his arrest, the suspect said he held no major grudge against the woman, but that he had become enraged when he heard the allegations he thought she was spreading.

“The suspect dabbled with drugs when he worked in Thailand. When he returned home, he was not mentally well. He was often forgetful. His parents never took him to a drug rehabilitation centre, however. Perhaps by keeping him at home too much, they added to his anxiety and stress,” he said.

Commune chief Chhea Ny said the suspect’s parents knew that their son was suffering from aggressive moods and went to the commune health centre to ask for psychiatric medication, but they had not yet taken him for a thorough evaluation.

“The health centre reported to me that its medical staff only saw the suspect’s mother, who asked for psychiatric medication for her son. But they did not see any medical certificates proving that the suspect had a mental illness. If the parents had tried harder to look after their son, this situation might never have happened,” he said.

Police said the suspect had been sent to the provincial police for further proceedings.