Man charged in rape and murder of pregnant woman

Preah Vihear Provincial Court yesterday charged an 18-year-old man with premeditated murder in connection with the rape and slaying of a 43-year-old pregnant woman, authorities said.

This is the 13th rape and murder of a woman or child reported by The Cambodia Daily since January.

Phun Keat was arrested Sunday after a farmer in Sdao commune discovered the body of eight month pregnant Sok Sohit, who died from blunt force trauma to the head, according to Sangkum Thmei district police chief Huy Sitha.

A witness said he last saw the victim with the suspect, who was apparently angry with Ms Sohit for telling people about his outstanding $2.50 debt to the grocery store she owned, Mr Sitha said.

“The suspect confessed that he hated the victim for telling others that he owned her money after buying alcohol,” he said. “It was so brutal. I have never seen a case like this before–the rape and killing of a woman only one month away from delivering a baby.”

Upon questioning, the suspect told police that he was drunk at the time of the killing and lured the victim into the jungle by telling her one of her cattle was loose, Mr Sitha said.

But once away from the village he allegedly smashed her head with a rock, knocking her unconscious, he said. After the suspect hit her head repeatedly with the rock and killed her, he raped her, the police chief said.

Long Sitha, the provincial prosecutor, said he charged the man with premeditated murder and the suspect is being held in pretrial detention.

“I questioned him and charged him with premeditated killing,” he said.

Sawada Chan Krisna, head of the women and children’s rights program at local rights group Adhoc, said that the case was unusual due to both the victim’s age and her pregnancy.

“It is such an unpredictable crime,” said Ms Krisna, adding that most rape victims in Cambodia are children. “We rarely receive cases like this.”

            (Additional reporting by Elizabeth Barber)





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