During a quarrel over a smartphone, Syed Maffi Hasan allegedly pushed Atika Dolkifli off a flight of steps.
Instead of going to her assistance, however, the 27-year-old man is said to have then flung the 23-year-old victim off the parapet of a multi-storey carpark to ensure that she died.
This was the prosecution’s case as Syed Maffi’s trial began at the High Court on Tuesday (20 February).
Syed Maffi, who is unemployed, denied the single charge against him for murdering Atika on 31 August 2015 by throwing her body over the parapet at Deck 5A of the multi-storey carpark at Block 146A Toa Payoh Lorong 2.
The accused will be arguing that he only placed Atika on the parapet and did not throw her off. Her body was found on the third-floor landing of the carpark only three days after the incident by a passerby.
The prosecution, represented by Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh, said it intends to call 60 witnesses for the first tranche of the trial, which has been scheduled across seven days this month.
Deadly squabble over smartphone
The dispute was centred over a phone that Atika had lent to Syed Maffi, who had no phone of his own.
According to Atika’s parents, she was found to have a below average intelligence when she was 12 years old. She was employed as a part-time waitress at Pizza Hut at the time of the alleged crime.
Atika and Syed Maffi first met in 2013 over Facebook but lost contact shortly after when the latter was admitted to the Drug Rehabilitation Centre, said the prosecution. The pair resumed contact after Syed Maffi was released on April 2015.
When Atika learnt that Syed Maffi did not have a mobile phone, she lent him her spare phone, a green iPhone 5C.
The iPhone became faulty and Syed Maffi sent it for repairs twice, with the bill amounting to some $135. However, Syed Maffi is said to have lied to Atika about the repair costs and sought to claim $300 from her.
He later turned up at Atika’s workplace multiple times, demanding to see her. Atika, who was afraid of Syed Maffi, tried to avoid him, said the prosecution.
On 20 August 2015, Syed Maffi went to Atika’s house and met her father. He told the man that Atika owed him $300 but was turned away. Atika’s elder brother later met Syed Maffi and told the latter to keep the phone and not to contact Atika again.
However, Syed Maffi met Atika on the night of 31 August 2015.
According to Syed Maffi, after the pair met, they had consensual sexual intercourse at a staircase landing of the multi-storey carpark before heading up to the rooftop garden. While there, the two got into an argument during which Atika demanded for her iPhone to be returned to her.
Syed Maffi refused and Atika hurled vulgarities at him, said the former. In the midst of the argument, Syed Maffi pushed Atika on her chest hard, causing her to fall off a flight of steps and hit the back of her head on the edge of a step.
“As a show of his determination to cause fatal injuries to the deceased, (Syed Maffi) then dragged (Atika) by her armpit off the remaining steps to the landing at Deck 5A and towards the railing, lifted her by her collar and seat of her trousers, and threw the deceased head-first over the railing of the parapet,” said the prosecution.
Atika is said to have fallen 6.5m and landed face first on the carpark’s landing at Deck 3A. She was later found to have died of a head injury.
Syed Maffi then allegedly scattered Atika’s belongings around the area, including her work name-tag and shoes, and left with her handbag.
He later took Atika’s iPhone 6 Plus from Atika’s handbag before hiding it in a covered drain near a bus stop located in front of a “Phillips” factory in Toa Payoh.
Atika’s father lodged a missing persons report and a statement was recorded from Syed Maffi two days after the incident.
At the time, Syed Maffi supposedly lied that Atika had left to meet her new boyfriend on the day of the incident and did not return to meet Syed Maffi as she had promised.
Atika’s body was discovered on the morning of 3 September 2015 by a member of the public who had parked his car at the same carpark.
The trial resumes tomorrow.
If convicted of murder, Syed Maffi faces the death penalty or life imprisonment with caning.
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