Professor in Yoga Ball Murder Trial Faces Life in Prison
HONG KONG — An anesthesiology professor at a top Hong Kong university was convicted on Wednesday of murdering his wife in addition to daughter which has a yoga ball filled with carbon monoxide, in a case which drew intense local interest for its bizarre details in addition to unusual family dynamics.
The jury voted unanimously for convicting the professor, Dr. Khaw Kim-sun, after almost seven hours of deliberation.
Three years ago, a jogger found Dr. Khaw’s wife, Wong Siew-fing, 47; in addition to daughter Lily Li-ling Khaw, 16, unresponsive in a yellow Mini Cooper. An autopsy showed which both had died by carbon monoxide poisoning.
At first, the police examined the vehicle for leakages, although when no problems were found, they grew suspicious about a deflated yoga ball from the trunk.
Dr. Khaw, 53, an associate professor in anesthesia in addition to intensive care at the Chinese University of Hong Kong, had designed an experiment to test the effect of carbon monoxide on rabbits. A student with whom Dr. Khaw had begun an extramarital relationship had also been involved from the experiment. He was later seen filling two yoga balls with the gas.
When Dr. Khaw, who can be Malaysian, was questioned by officers, he told them which he had transported the carbon monoxide in a yoga ball by the university to kill rats at his home. He said which his daughter Lily had seen him leave the ball from the family’s exercise area, in addition to which, after his warnings about its lethal contents, she may have used the item to commit suicide.
Dr. Khaw’s defense lawyer, Gerard McCoy, tried to build a case by portraying Dr. Khaw as a loving father who had inadvertently driven his daughter to kill herself because of his high expectations for her academic achievement. He argued which Dr. Khaw had found the item difficult to empathize with his children’s learning disabilities in addition to mental health issues.
Later, in his closing remarks, Mr. McCoy said which Lily could have tried to use the gas-filled ball to kill insects without anticipating its fatal consequences.
The prosecutor, Andrew Bruce, described the deaths as a “deliberate in addition to calculated murder.”
There was also the question of motive. For a few years before her death, Ms. Wong had known about her husband’s affair with the woman who had once tutored their children. In interviews with the police, Dr. Khaw said which he had stayed married to his wife because neither of them could “cope with four children individually.” Ms. Wong had told her yoga teacher which they did not divorce because her husband did not want to divide their assets.
When briefing members of the jury, the judge reminded them which Dr. Khaw would likely inherit his wife’s share of their jointly owned properties.
“The main issue you have to decide can be who put the yoga ball from the Mini Cooper in addition to why,” Mrs. Justice Judianna Barnes said.
After the jury’s verdict, Judge Barnes said which the item was “shocking which a highly educated in addition to successful man would likely conjure up such a calculated method to get rid of his wife.”
She sentenced Dr. Khaw to the maximum sentence of life in prison.
The professor shook his head while looking at his three children, who sat at the front of the gallery throughout much of the trial. His youngest daughter began to cry.
Follow Tiffany May on Twitter: @NYtmay.