Police from Takeo province’s Bati district on Friday arrested a man who allegedly torched his house in a jealous rage, causing his wife to die, before attempting to commit suicide by slashing his throat.
Captain Chan Sokchea, Trapaing Sab commune deputy police chief, yesterday identified him as Prum Tam, 37, an elephant keeper in the district’s Phnom Ta Mao zoo who is in a critical condition at the provincial referral hospital.
He identified the victim as Loas Sreyne, 32, a grocery vendor who died after her husband poured gasoline on their house in Trapaing Sab commune and torched it.
Cap Sokchea said the murder took place at about 3am on Friday after an argument during which Mr Tam accused Ms Sreyne of having an affair with a Facebook friend in Takeo city.
He said that according to police investigations, the couple had been married in 2008 and had two young sons.
Cap Sokchea noted that Mr Tam was a jealous man who often quarrelled with his wife whenever he saw her talking to other men.
He said that during the argument on the day of the murder, Mr Tam beat Ms Sreyne and she asked for a divorce.
Cap Sokchea said the suspect did not agree and instead started pouring a litre of gasoline around the house and lit it.
“He was angry with the wife for having a love affair with another man and also for asking for a divorce,” he said. “He then poured gasoline and started torching the house.”
“While he was setting fire to the house, the victim snatched the bottle of gasoline from him, some of which splashed on her and set her ablaze,” he added.
Cap Sokchea noted that Mr Tam then fled the scene,
He said that neighbours rushed to the burning house and rescued the two young boys before taking Ms Sreyne to the provincial referral hospital where she died due to severe burns.
Capt Sokchea said that in the meantime, Mr Tam who was hiding nearby tried to commit suicide by slashing his throat because he thought that his wife had died in the fire.
“The suspect thought that his wife had died and he slashed his throat with a cleaver,” he said. “Police found him unconscious behind the house and sent him to the referral hospital.”
Major Khun Lo, district deputy police chief, yesterday said that Mr Tam is still in hospital.
“He is in intensive care because he suffered a serious injury,” he said. “His chances of survival are low.”
Maj Lo said that Mr Tam is accused of intentional murder and faces up to 15 years in jail if he recovers from his injury and is convicted.