Saturday, 19 Sep 2020

Boon Tat Street death: Man convicted of culpable homicide for stabbing son-in-law

SINGAPORE – A 72-year-old man, who fatally stabbed his son-in-law in front of a lunchtime crowd in the Central Business District three years ago, pleaded guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide in the High Court on Thursday (Aug 20).

Tan Nam Seng admitted that he repeatedly stabbed 39-year-old Spencer Tuppani in the chest outside a coffee shop at Telok Ayer Street at about 1.20pm on July 10, 2017.

CCTV footage was played in court, showing Tan attacking Mr Tuppani, who was having lunch with three friends at the coffee shop. Footage was also shown of Mr Tuppani running away after being stabbed and then collapsing in front of a restaurant on Boon Tat Street.

Tan was seen in the footage kicking Mr Tuppani twice in the face and chasing away passers-by.

On Thursday, the grey-haired Tan, who was in a white prison T-shirt and brown trousers, looked much thinner than when he was charged in court three years ago.

Tan was originally charged with murder but the charge was reduced after a psychiatric assessment found that he was suffering from a major depressive disorder.

The disorder affected his judgment and significantly impaired his mental responsibility for his actions.

Tan had “overwhelming ruminations and worries about the well-being of his daughters”, the court heard.

In early 2017, Ms Shyller Tan and Mr Tuppani agreed to divorce after she found out he was having an affair with another woman, and that he had two children from the affair, Deputy Public Prosector Lim Jian Yi told the court.

Tan was the founder of TNS Shipping in 1974, a company that provided port management services.

Mr Tuppani began working in one of the subsidiaries after marrying Tan’s eldest daughter Shyller in 2005 and later appointed as one of the directors of the company, overseeing business expansion and sales and marketing. 

The company was sold to a bigger corporation in 2016 and Mr Tuppani was appointed CEO of the new company. An incident that took place in the company’s office on July 4, 2017 led to Tan’s younger daughter Sherry being suspended from the company, following a dispute with Mr Tuppani’s personal assistant.

This incident troubled Tan greatly as he believed that Mr Tuppani would subsequently remove Ms Shyller Tan from the company as well. He also believed that this was part of Mr Tuppani’s plan to cheat him of his business by divorcing Ms Shyller Tan after taking control of all their shares.  

Sentencing was adjourned to a later date.

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