Medicine

Wife stabber gets 8 years

PUBLISHED : Friday, 03 August, 2012, 12:00am
UPDATED : Wednesday, 15 August, 2012, 10:56pm

A ketamine addict who said, 'Sorry, I don't want to do this' as he grabbed his wife by the neck, stabbed her repeatedly with a screwdriver and tried to hack her with a breadknife has been jailed for eight years.

Warehouseman Chan Chun-tat, 24, yesterday pleaded guilty in the Court of First Instance to wounding with intent to cause very serious harm to Chan Seze-ka at their village house in She Shan Tsuen, Tai Po, on June 14 last year.

It was the second case in a week in which a drug user has admitted to a violent attack, and prompted renewed warnings from medics about the dangers of narcotics.

The court heard that Chan, who had snorted ketamine, kept saying 'I'm sorry, I do not want this' as he carried out what the judge described as a horrific attack on his wife, with whom he had been quarrelling for a year about his drug addiction.

Speaking after the case, a leading psychiatrist said it was not unusual for someone who abused ketamine, a horse tranquilliser, to become deeply violent, as the drug could cause mental disorders and hallucination.

'The violent tendency for this group of people is much higher than that of psychiatric patients who are suffering from other mental problems like depression,' private psychiatrist Dr Francis Lum Choong-kein said.

The court heard that Chan's wife was so upset about his drug use that she had tried to kill herself by swallowing a huge dose of painkillers during her pregnancy. They have a two-year-old son. On the day of the attack, the husband was trying to reconcile with his wife, whom he had kicked out of their home after she had dinner with another man.

After chatting, Chan asked his wife for a hug while sitting on the bed. When he was holding her in his arms, he suddenly grabbed her neck, choking her, the prosecution said. The woman was able to struggle off to the balcony, but later returned to the bedroom, kneeling on the floor and asking Chan to calm down. He kept apologising, held her hand and then suddenly stabbed her with a screwdriver in the chest and the back.

As his wife ran off, Chan followed her with a bread knife, but she was able to fend him off.

Chan fled the house when his father returned home. The father called police, who later found his son semi-conscious under a bridge after he slit his wrists. Urine samples showed he had taken ketamine, the court heard. Chan Seze-ka will be scarred for life and will not have full use of her right middle finger.

Mrs Justice Verina Bokhary adopted a starting point of 12 years' jail, and reduced it by a third for Chan's guilty plea.

Lum said ketamine and amphetamines could damage the structure of the brain and addicts could develop long-term mental health problems, even if they later quit.

On Tuesday, decorator Kwan Ping-wai, 31, who said he had mental problems due to his use of amphetamines, pleaded guilty to wounding four strangers in a two-day chopping spree in Tseung Kwan O on October 2 and 3 last year. He will be sentenced on August 14 when two psychiatric reports ordered by the judge are ready.