Lorry driver charged with rape and murder

The accused being escorted by the police after the court hearing.

SIBU: A lorry driver was today charged in the Sessions Court here with two felony charges of rape cum murder, and murdering of a 26-year-old woman at a rented house in Tiong Hua Road three weeks ago.

However, no plea was taken from the accused, Philip Uja, 42, from Kanowit who understood both charges read and explained to him through an interpreter in Iban language.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Mohammad Tajul Aariffin Musa applied for the case to be fixed for further mention pending chemist and autopsy reports.

Presiding Sessions Court Judge Caroline Bee Majanil who allowed the application, fixed the case for further mention on Oct 2.

Meanwhile, she ordered that the accused who is unrepresented, to be further remanded in prison.

According to the first charge, Philip was charged with committing murder by causing the death of Nurnia Azaled Priscilla Edward at an unnumbered room in Tiong Hua Road between 8pm on Aug 1 and 2.30pm on Aug 2.

The offence was committed under Section 302 of the Penal Code which provides for a mandatory death sentence upon conviction.

Philip was facing the second charge of committing rape on the same victim and caused her death at the same time and place.

The offence was framed under Section 376(4) of the Penal Code which if convicted, an offender could face death penalty or imprisonment for a term of not less than 15 years and not more than 30 years as well as with whipping of not less than 10 strokes.

It was earlier reported that in the murder case, the victim, who only got married last year, was found dead in her rented house with her hands and legs tied behind her back.

The victim, who worked at a government department in UTC Sibu, was discovered by a colleague who went to check on her after she failed to show up for work.

The victim hailed from Kanowit and lived alone at the rented house as her husband works away in Tatau.

The accused was subsequently arrested a week later at his longhouse where he was believed to have gone into hiding after the brutal crime.

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