Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Friday sentenced a man to 20 years in prison for the brutal murder of a 41-year-old female security guard who was also raped, court officials said.
Nuth Souphoan was arrested on Feb 20, two days after police discovered the body of his victim, Yim Sreymom, whose wrists and ankles were bound before she was drowned in a sewer in Russei Keo district’s Tuol Sangke commune. Souphoan was convicted on Friday of murder, though he was not charged with rape, said presiding judge Sin Visal.
“The court decided to sentence him to 20 years in prison and ordered him to pay 16 million riel [$3,800] compensation to the family for premeditated murder,” said Judge Visal, who declined to comment further on the case.
Ms Sreymom, a security guard at Hong Meng Ta garment factory in Russei Keo district, was a widow whose death left three children orphaned.
She was returning home from a night shift when she was attacked 300 meters from her workplace, not far from Souphoan’s home, police said.
Deputy prosecutor Hing Bunchea said that Souphoan denied at trial raping the woman, telling the court he only killed his victim and robbed her of her jewelry.
However, according to Mr Bunchea, this contradicted earlier statements to the investigating judge in which he “confessed that he raped and tied her wrists and ankles to drown her in a sewer.” Souphoan admitted to killing the victim in order to stop her from identifying him as a rapist, Mr Bunchea said. He said that Souphoan was not charged with rape because the murder charge carried a strong penalty, and there was more evidence of murder.
“The court had enough evidence to punish him and the sentence is suitable for the charge of premeditated murder,” he said.
Both Mr Bunchea and Judge Visal’s clerk Neth Ten said they could not remember the name of Souphoan’s attorney in the matter and did not have the case file available. Officials at Hong Meng Ta could not be reached for comment.
The Cambodia Daily has reported on 14 cases of the rape-murder of a woman or child so far this year.