SINGAPORE — The only woman involved in a high-profile scuffle at Orchard Towers that resulted in the death of a man was jailed for five months on Friday (9 October).
Despite initially indicating that she would claim trial, Natalie Siow Yu Zhen, 24, said through her lawyer Amarick Singh Gill that she will accept the prosecution’s plead guilty offer.
She was originally accused of murder, but the charge was later reduced to assault.
Siow was one of an initial seven charged in the fatal incident at Orchard Towers. The fight had resulted in the death of 31-year-old Satheesh Noel Gobidass in the wee hours of 2 July last year.
Siow, a part-time waitress, pleaded guilty on Friday to one charge each of being in the company of Tan Sen Yang, 29, who had a foldable Karambit knife in his possession, and causing hurt to Satheesh by kicking and punching him together with Tan Sen Yang, Joel Tan Yun Sheng, 27, and Ang Da Yuan, 27.
One charge of behaving in a disorderly manner – by running back and forth near the main entrance of Naughty Girl Club, in a bid to kick and push patrons from the club and also flipping a table towards one of the patrons – was taking into consideration for sentencing.
Violent scuffle in early hours at Orchard Towers
The court heard that Joel and Ang made their way to a nightclub in the Chinatown area intending to drink beer there at about midnight on 2 July last year. Siow met the two men there at around 1am.
At about 2am, the trio and other friends headed to a club in the Orchard area before heading to another club within the area, where they meet Tan Sen Yang. Joel had gone out with Tan three times before that day. By then, the group had swelled to about 10 people.
As the club they were at was about to close, Joel suggested that the group go to the Naughty Girl Club at level two of Orchard Towers. There, Joel ordered two towers of beer and resumed drinking. Siow then played a drinking game with Tan, whereby the loser would have to drink alcohol.
When Tan lost two rounds, Siow teased him about not being able to drink, triggering the man to take out a closed Karambit knife from his pocket and slam it on the table. Joel intervened and told Tan to keep the knife. He also warned Siow not to offend Tan.
At about 6.20am, the group finished the beer and decided to leave. As they walked out, they encountered another group consisting of five persons. Tan exchange vulgarities with this group and the two groups also traded secret society slogans. When the confrontation became heated, security officers at the Naughty Girl Club intervened.
During the dispute, Tan waved his Karambit knife above his head and swung it at those congregating at the entrance to the club, including Satheesh. He slashed a security officer on his finger and another man in the face.
Siow saw the fight and decided to join in by jumping at people and flipping a table onto the floor. She had to be restrained by others.
After someone shouted “police”, Tan’s group left for the ground floor. Before they could exit the building, Satheesh confronted Ang, prompting the latter to push him away. In return, Satheesh shoved him forcefully in to the shutters of a closed shop unit.
A scuffle ensued, with Tan swinging his blade at Satheesh’s lower jaw and neck. The others joined in, with Siow trying to kick and swing her arms at him. She was restrained as she aimed a kick at Satheesh. Ang managed to punch Satheesh in the face before he was restrained.
The group then fled, leaving Satheetsh to walk towards and entrance of Orchard Towers before collapsing face first to the ground.
A security officer who responded to the screams saw Satheesh collapsing, and gave chase to Tan’s group, which had fled in different directions.
Siow, who realised she had left one slipper behind, returned to Orchard Towers to retrieve it as she felt the slipper was expensive. She walked past Satheesh, took her slipper and left.
Satheesh was attended to by bystanders, who also called for the ambulance. He died from his injuries and was certified dead at 7.25am. An autopsy report noted that he had numerous stab and incised wounds, and his cause of death was certified to be a stab wound to his neck.
I get agitated and aggressive sometimes: Siow
Mitigating for Siow, Gill said that his client had initially faced a capital charge which was “harrowing for her”.
The lawyer also read out a statement that Siow had given the police shortly after the incident, stating that she knew she was at fault for joining in the fight.
“When it comes to drinking I get agitated and aggressive sometimes, I know being drunk is not an excuse. At that point in time I saw my male friends having problems with people,” she said.
“I did not know the incident resulting in the Indian guy’s death, when I was at level one I saw (his) face (had) a lot of blood…(I am) sorry for this death and did not know he would die.”
Deputy Public Prosecutors Ang Feng Qian, Dora Tay and Benedict Tiong sought nine months’ jail for Siow.
District Judge John Ng sentenced Siow to five months’ jail, factoring in her past remand period from 4 July to 18 October 2019.
Joel Tan was previously jailed four weeks while Ang was jailed for eight months. Tan Sen Yang’s case is still pending before the courts.
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