A mother's plea for mercy helped to win freedom yesterday for a man convicted of stealing almost $3 million from her dead daughter's bank account. Tearful Soong Yuen-yee begged Judge Fergal Sweeney in the District Court to show leniency to Tse Ngai-chi, 34, her daughter's ex-boyfriend. Judge Sweeney, who said he was impressed by Ms Soong's attitude, gave Tse a two-year jail sentence, suspended for three years. 'Although the defendant is a devious and dishonest person, although this case has many unanswered questions, I see no use or purpose for jailing the defendant for these offences. A unique case sometimes requires a unique sentence,' the judge said. Ms Soong wept and embraced the defendant as he walked from the dock. Tse was convicted of stealing $2.77 million from the bank accounts of his lover, Stella Chan Wan-tat, two days after she committed suicide by jumping from their home on June 3 last year. Chan, 29, an estate agent, had been living with Tse for more than eight years. Tse told the court the money in Chan's accounts belonged to him and he was entitled to it. He gambled all the money away in five weeks. John McLanachan, defending, said Tse had repaid Ms Soong $843,000 while on bail in the past three months. Mr McLanachan said the pair were now on good terms and Tse would take care of Ms Soong financially and socially. He said Tse agreed to return Chan's jewellery, valuables and personal belongings to Ms Soong. Tse was convicted of four charges of theft, all of which he denied.