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Crime in Hong Kong

‘Voices’ from drug use led man to kill girlfriend with electric drill, Hong Kong court hears

Construction worker in murder trial says he is addicted to Ice and saw a ‘snake in the moon’ on night of gruesome incident

PUBLISHED : Thursday, 18 January, 2018, 8:46pm
UPDATED : Friday, 19 January, 2018, 3:30pm

A drug user on trial for murder in Hong Kong admitted on Thursday to killing his girlfriend with an electric drill because he thought she was a witch who had to die so his life would be spared.

Safdar Husnain, 28, told the High Court that his long-time consumption of the drug methamphetamine, also known as Ice, gave him hallucinations. He said this led to violence, for the first time, against his girlfriend Andrea Bayr, 25, just before she died on March 29, 2016.

“Now I realised due to my taking drugs, one of my lovers has passed away,” he testified in a calm voice through an Urdu interpreter.

Man accused of killing girlfriend with electric drill ‘loved her madly’, Hong Kong court hears

Husnain is pleading not guilty to murder but confessed to killing Bayr at a construction site in Tuen Mun, where he was working at the time.

The jury heard that Husnain was introduced to drugs by his friends in 2007. He gradually increased his intake over the years, leading to him hearing voices from mid-2015, after two failed attempts to quit the addiction.

He said his consumption further increased to a daily rate after he met Bayr on January 1, 2016, as she frequently brought him drugs.

Husnain recalled that on March 29, 2016, he shared about 5 grams of Ice with his girlfriend and childhood friend Harris Khan but was “not fully intoxicated”.

Desperate for more, he asked Khan to help procure another HK$500 worth of the drug and Khan returned with 4 grams, this time of a higher potency.

As he consumed the drug, the voices returned, telling him to look at the sky, where he saw “a snake in the moon” with its mouth opened.

Gruesome details emerge in trial of security guard accused of killing girlfriend with electric drill

They also warned him that his lover was going to kill him, he said.

Suddenly he noticed Bayr’s appearance had changed, her face long with her eyes and teeth bulging out.

“I got so scared … I thought she was a witch,” he said. “At the time I thought if I had not killed her ... I would be killed, I would not be spared.”

I got so scared … I thought she was a witch
defendant Safdar Husnain, at trial

He then threw a hammer in Bayr’s direction. He said he hit her on the head with the drill.

“I felt that everything happening to me was real,” he said.

Defence counsel David Boyton said: “Had you known she was your girlfriend and not a witch, you would not have harmed her.”

“I loved her, why would I kill her?” Husnain responded.

But prosecutor Terence Wai Hon-hei countered that Husnain was “making things up” when he knew full well what he was doing. Husnain disagreed.

Psychiatrist Dr Paul Tam Mo-shing, testifying for the defence, observed that Husnain’s account was typical of chronic substance abusers as his hallucinations were very vivid.

Tam’s report also revealed that Husnain regretted what happened and wanted to turn over a new leaf by returning to Pakistan drug-free after serving his sentence.

“It is my recommendation that he should not be judged as a murderer because he was entirely under the influence of one or more drugs,” Tam wrote in closing his report. “He was suffering from such abnormality of the mind due to the effect of drugs that his mental responsibility for his acts was substantially impaired at the time of the offence.”

But Mr Justice Kevin Zervos warned: “These are matters for the jury.”

“I’m sorry, I was too eager,” the psychiatrist replied.

The trial continues on Friday.