Phnom Penh Municipal Court on Thursday sentenced a 38-year-old Thai man to 11 years in prison for murdering his Cambodian girlfriend in a Daun Penh district guesthouse where the couple stayed last year.
“The court decided to sentence Sarisri Boonsri to 11 years in prison and ordered him to pay 30 million riel [about $7,142] in compensation to the victim’s family for intentional murder,” Judge Ker Sakhorn said.
Mr Boonsri was arrested in October after his girlfriend, Voeu Sreymao, 20, was discovered strangled to death in a guesthouse in Phsar Thmei I commune.
When Mr Boonsri gave testimony on July 19, he denied killing the victim.
“I didn’t kill her, and I didn’t know about the victim dying,” he said, adding that when he left the guesthouse at 6:30 am on Oct 12, Ms Sreymao was still alive.
A police report read in court said the victim had died at about 2 am on Oct 12, more than 4 hours before Mr Boonsri claimed to have left the guesthouse.
“The corpse had abrasions on the neck from strangulation. She had bite marks on her tongue, and abrasions on her neck and face,” the report read.
The victim’s mother, Norn Chreb, said that although she would have preferred more compensation she accepted the judge’s decision.
“It is justice for my daughter,” said 43-year-old Ms Chreb.
Deputy prosecutor Keu Bunnara said that according to criminal law, murder can carry prison time of 10 to 15 years, and he was happy with the sentence.
“I think that the judge’s decision is suitable,” he said. “The court has enough evidence to punish the defendant.”
Mr Boonsri’s lawyer Touch Chhay said the court had insufficient proof that his client had murdered Ms Sreymao.
“If my client strangled the victim, why did she not shout?” he asked, adding that the owner of the guesthouse had not heard any disturbances coming from the room.
“I think it is not justice for my client and my client will appeal,” he said.