A man who beat his 77-year-old neighbour to death with an ashtray after she suggested his mainland wife should work as a prostitute to pay off his debt to her was jailed for four years yesterday. Chau Chi-sing, 28, fled to the mainland and then Macau the night he killed Yung Po-chun in Yuen Long on December 22, 2001. But fearing that his wife and son would be dragged into the incident, Chau lived on the streets for a year before confessing to Macau police on February 26 this year. Chau's wife and son both attended the hearing at the Court of First Instance yesterday. Chau denied murder but admitted manslaughter. Defence counsel Robert Andrews said: 'He [Chau] is a man of considerable remorse and he spent a year tortured by the knowledge of what he had done and how that would affect his future with his wife and son.' Mr Andrews asked Mr Justice Colin Jackson to impose a lenient sentence. 'If anything else, it would ... give this man, who has never been to prison before, some prospect that he would keep his wife and son for the future, which is the only matter that concerns him,' Mr Andrews said. Mr Justice Jackson noted that Chau agreed what he had done to Yung was 'unforgivable, and perhaps more so because of her age'. But the judge said: 'You took a life and that fact cannot be excused and will remain with you for the rest of your life.' Mr Andrews said the incident was out of character for his client. He said Chau and Yung had argued over $500 that his client owed her. Yung had wanted to take Chau's stash of Chinese herbs, which he believed were worth more than the debt. Yung told Chau he could get some cash if his mainland wife became a prostitute. Chau then struck Yung several times on the head with a hard ashtray, causing her to bleed profusely. Chau dragged Yung down several flights of stairs at the Hong Ping Estate in Yuen Long and dumped her. Her body was discovered by a security guard. Mr Justice Jackson said in light of his guilty plea, and the fact he turned himself in, he would jail him for just four years.