Husband admits murdering wife of 30 years in Newcastle hotel while holidaying from Singapore

Soong Hert Fong was told by a judge to expect to be sentenced to life in prison. Credit: Northumbria Police

A husband has admitted murdering his wife of nearly 30 years while they holidayed in the North East from Singapore.

Soong Hert Fong, 51, and Pek Ying Ling travelled to Newcastle to visit family living in the area in December 2021.

During a trial this month, Newcastle Crown Court heard Fong attempted to silence his wife by putting a pillow over her face.

Fong originally pleaded not guilty to her murder and a trial began on 1 August at the court.

The jury heard that Fong had injured himself when he slipped and fell on an earlier stage of the couple's trip to the UK, and that he had required hospital treatment and medication.

However, on Tuesday (9 August) the jury was told that, after reviewing the evidence, Fong's defence was unable to establish that he had diminished responsibility for the death of his wife.

Despite the case being set to continue for several days, the dad-of-three changed his plea to guilty and the trial was abandoned.

Pek Ying Ling was visiting family in the Newcastle area with her husband when she was killed in the couple's aparthotel. Credit: Family photo

Speaking after his plea, the couple's three children issued a statement in which they pledged to support their father.

They said: “We are heartbroken after losing our mum, but now we just want to provide our dad with the support he needs.”

Northumbria Police were called to the couple's city centre accommodation, the County Aparthotel, on Westgate Road, shortly before 7.15am on 6 December.

Emergency services arrived and discovered the victim lying with a pillow over her face.

She was not breathing and could not be revived.

The court heard Fong told police "I snapped" and "I just wanted to keep her quiet".

He was arrested on suspicion of murder and was charged within 24 hours.

Senior investigating officer, Detective Chief Inspector Matt Steel said: “This is an incredibly tragic case and first and foremost, our thoughts continue to be with the couple’s three children who I commend for their composure and their engagement with the police throughout this extremely difficult period in their lives.

“We will support them in any way we can as they continue to navigate their grief and process what has happened.

“We would ask that everyone respects their privacy at this extremely difficult time.”

He added: “We want to be clear, that we will absolutely not tolerate domestic abuse or violence in any form.

“When incidents of this nature do occur we are committed to bringing those responsible to justice.”

Adjourning the case until sentencing on Friday, the judge told Fong to expect a life term in prison.

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