- Published on Thursday, 10 July 2014 08:29
KUANTAN: THERE were mixed emotions at the High Court yesterday after a 39-year-old petty trader was sentenced to death for murdering French tourist Stephanie Foray on Pulau Tioman three years ago.
Asni Omar’s family members, including those waiting outside the packed courtroom, immediately dashed towards him in tears as they took turns to embrace before he was whisked away through a side exit in the courtroom.
For Foray’s parents, seated in the public gallery, the court’s verdict was a relief as justice had been served in their daughter’s death.
Foray mother’s Irene Mortel, 52, who was seen in tears after Judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya delivered the verdict, said she realised it would not be able to change anything.
Her husband Joel Foray said he was satisfied with the justice delivered for his daughter and felt the trial had gone on smoothly.
Mariana said Asni’s defence was a mere denial and his “cooked-up” story to prove that he was innocent had instead weakened his own defence.
She said Asni mentioned that he had sent Foray to the Marine Park on the island after dinner on May 10 but failed to provide proper explanation how the victim’s sling bag remained in a cupboard in his house.
“I agree with the prosecution that Foray returned home after dinner (May 10) and Asni was responsible for bringing her home. When the court asked Asni details about a picture of him pointing towards a bed, he replied that Foray’s sling bag was on the mattress and his statement that he did not notice the bag on the morning of May 11 raised suspicion.
“Asni also failed to provide any explanation how the bag from the room was later found in the cave (where Foray’s body was buried), if he was not the one who took it there. If Asni said he found the body (Foray) and was not the person who killed her, then there is no reason for the bag to be in the cave.”
Mariana said the accused did not make any attempt to inform anyone about the finding (Foray’s body) despite him admitting (to the police) that he used Foray’s handphone.
“He used her handphone after discovering the body but acted as though nothing happened and did not inform the police. Even when he was picked up by Malacca police on July 21, 2011, he chose to remain mum.
“Asni knew he was arrested to facilitate police in a missing person case but did not discuss it. The accused claimed he did not inform the police fearing he would be blamed for murdering the victim and was extremely scared,” she said, adding that he would not have been scared if he was not at wrong.
She said the accused, who led police to the cave where Foray’s body and bag were found, showed he had knowledge of the body.
Forty-five prosecution and five defence witnesses testified during trial which began on May 14, 2012.
Deputy public prosecutors Salim Soib@Hamid, Amer Abu Bakar Abdullah, Nor Azizah Mohamed and Farahah Mohd Nazari prosecuted while the accused was represented by counsel Datuk Ng See Teong, Mohd Hisham Abd Rahim and Ibrahim Kamaruddin.
Counsel Amy Ling held a watching brief for Foray’s family while French Embassy Consul Stephanie Rouville accompanied Foray’s parents in court.