Woman jumps from burning flat after decapitating mother

PUBLISHED : Monday, 09 August, 2010, 12:00am
UPDATED : Monday, 09 August, 2010, 12:00am

A woman believed to have a history of mental illness jumped to her death from a flat at a public housing estate yesterday after apparently decapitating her mother and setting the unit ablaze.

The tragedy started to unfold shortly before 8pm, when residents on the 11th floor of Sau Yuen House on Chuk Yuen South Estate in Wong Tai Sin called the management office after hearing two women embroiled in a heated argument inside the flat.

A caretaker knocked on the door but no one answered. Residents said he then smelled burning and saw smoke coming from the flat. He called the police and firefighters, who arrived shortly after 8pm and broke into the flat.

In the meantime, a woman in her 30s jumped out of a window of the flat. She was pronounced dead when ambulancemen arrived.

After quickly putting out the blaze, firemen found another woman lying unconscious. She was believed to be in her 70s and was also pronounced dead at the scene.

A police officer said the elderly woman had been chopped to death and her head had been hacked off. A chopper was found inside the flat.

Police believed the two victims were mother and daughter, and that the younger woman had a history of mental illness. It was unclear if the family had been receiving assistance from social workers.

Police were still investigating last night and had temporarily classified the case as 'person falling from a height' and 'body found'. Officers from Wong Tai Sin district crime squad are handling the case.

It was the second fatal family tragedy in recent weeks.

Last month, a 15-year-old boy was arrested in Tsuen Wan after allegedly killing his mother and sister with a chopper at their home. The teenager called police and was found in a park in Tsuen Wan with a blood-stained chopper and glove in his backpack.

The boy does not have a history of mental illness and was described by his school as having achieved good academic performance and behaving well.

Chinese media reported that the boy had told police that the world would be a better place if there were fewer people.

In May, Li Chung-man attacked neighbours at a Kwai Chung public housing estate with a chopper, killing two and injuring three.

Li, 42, lived alone on the estate and suffered from mental illness. He had threatened people on the estate before and had been was classified as a high risk.