Open Verdict in Death Plunge of Girl at Hotel

Open Verdict in Death Plunge of Girl at Hotel

The Straits Times, Thursday, November 30, 2006

No conclusive proof that victim ended her life; autopsy showed toluene in her blood


A coroner’s court yesterday recorded an open verdict on the death of a young glue-sniffer who fell to her death from the eighth floor of a Geylang hotel.

Ms. Norhaslina Rahmat, 19, was found in the driveway of Hotel 12 on the evening of Sept 10 in a twisted heap and with her head smashed. She was reeking of glue.

Eight floors up, in her room, police found a heart symbol and two names—hers and that of her boyfriend Mohammad Yazid Junaineh—scrawled on the wall in blood.

They also found a plastic packet containing glue and a tube of glue.

Returning an open verdict on her death yesterday, State Coroner Ronald Gwee said there was no conclusive evidence that she intended to take her own life.

He noted that a consultant forensic pathologist had said it was possible that Ms. Norhaslina, high on glue, might have become so disoriented, the fall was purely and wholly accidental.

Her bartender boyfriend told police she had appeared depressed six months earlier, when he turned down her suggestion that they get married, because he did not feel ready for it.

She told him she felt lonely and wanted to end her life.

Between 3am and 6am on Sept 10, she was seen by her sister’s maid to be depressed and crying. She told the maid she had some problem but did not specify what it was.

She had apparently called her boyfriend to meet him as it was his 24th birthday but he could not make it as he was at work.

Just after 2pm that day, she checked into the hotel. Police said she did not leave the room. Her body was found on the ground floor at 8:49pm.

The court heard that the Secondary 3 school dropout, a glue addict since her early teens, had cut herself by smashing a glass picture frame in the room and then used her blood to write the two names and draw the love symbol.

Mr. Mohammad Yazid said he called her that afternoon, but she refused to pick up the phone at times.

When he last spoke to her at about 5pm, she sounded “intoxicated” ad told him she would write his name on the wall with her blood.

He also told the police that he had last seen her sniffing glue at a hotel two weeks earlier.

Mr. Gwee said it could not be ruled out that the fall might have been accidental.

An autopsy showed Ms. Norhaslina had an “intoxicating level” of toluene, a solvent found in substances such as glue, in her blood. This might have caused confusion, incoordination and an unsteady gait, among other symptoms.