Thursday, July 10, 2014

Malaysia: Local Trader in Death of Frenchwoman, 30, Sentenced to Death in Three-Year-Old Homicide

According to The Malaysian Digest, there were mixed emotions in the High Court after a 39-year-old petty trader was sentenced to death for murdering French tourist Stephanie Foray, 30, at the time of her death 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's mother, Irene Mortel, 52, who was seen in tears after Judge Datuk Seri Mariana Yahya delivered the verdict, said she realized that the Judge's ruling changed little.

The Judge said Asni’s defense was a mere denial and his “cooked-up” story to prove that he was innocent had instead weakened his own defense. She said Asni mentioned that he had sent Foray to the Marine Park on the island after dinner on May 10, 2011, yet failed to provide a satisfactory explanation as to how Ms. Foray's sling bag was found in a cupboard in his house.

COMMENT: One daunting omission that the assailant in this case failed to bring up to Malaysian authorities was that he failed to report Ms. Foray's death to anyone. In essence, if he had nothing to do with her death, he might easily have passed a polygraph without a blip on the screen.

Worse, it was Asni who led authorities to the cave in which Ms. Foray's body was found. If he had no knowledge of her disappearance, how did he know her body was in the cave?

French Embassy Consul Stephanie Rouville accompanied Foray’s parents to and from court, which is far more than than the majority of diplomatic missions I'm aware of.

If there is any lesson-learned from this case, it is that young adult travelers inexperienced in the perilous world we live in should never travel solo.