After Fleeing Out Window, American Caught on Strangling Charge

The Phnom Penh Municipal Court charged a US national with killing a Vietnamese woman by allegedly strangling her with a coat hanger, officials said Monday.

Grant Kim Helling, 46, was ar­rested Feb 22 at his rental home in Boeng Keng Kang I commune, where police found the body of an unidentified Vietnamese woman, said Chamkar Mon district se­cu­rity police chief Leng Kim Heang.

“She was strangled. There was a mark made by the coat hanger,” he said, adding that Helling leapt from the first floor window of the house after police were alerted by Hel­ling’s landlord who saw smoke coming from the house.

“We don’t know whether he started the fire to kill himself or destroy the woman’s corpse,” Leng Kim Heang said.

Ouk Savouth, chief prosecutor for the municipal court, confirmed that Helling was charged with killing the woman, but he declined to comment further.

Municipal Foreigner police chief Mom Sitha, said Monday that Helling confessed that he attacked the woman by clasping his hands over her mouth and nose during a heated argument.

“[Helling] said that he didn’t know that she died. He left her for a few hours and found her dead [when he returned],” he said, ad­ding that the victim was found with her hands bound by string.

Mom Sitha said that Heller was awaiting surgery at Calmette hospital for an injury he sustained to his leg from the jump.

Under the eye of two Prey Sar prison guards Mon­day, a bandaged and tearful Helling told a re­porter that the death was an accident.

“It was an accident and I am forever remorseful to her and her family. It’s one of those things you can’t avoid-like a mosquito,” he said, be­fore declining to comment further.

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