Fear of punishment led a couple to leap to their death; EIGHT suicide notes found in each of their bags.

Wait. Sorry. Not 'a couple'. The better words should be 'two friends'.

But what the way to end their lives. Both were still young. The girl, Mernel Koh Min Er was only 15 while the guy, Eddy Effendy was 22.

Yet both chose to find solutions of their problems by killing themselves. Deadliest shortcut, if you ask me.

They must have thought thoroughly of ending their lives; they even wrote 8 suicide notes.

Strange, I have this thinking that after penning those notes, they would have changed their minds. Pity, the suicide did happen & their families are left grieving.

The pair were close friends who led troubled lives. They had different problems.

She was facing a theft charge and was afraid she would be sent to a girls' home. He had been caught for having sex with an underaged girl.

In the end, in what the coroner called 'a very sad and unfortunate case', they chose a horrendous way out of their troubles.

Together, they leapt to their deaths on 30 Sep last year.

At about noon that day, the bodies of Mernel Koh Min Er, 15, and Eddy Effendy, 22, were found at the foot of Block 127, Bukit Batok West Avenue 6.

In a joint inquiry yesterday, State Coroner Victor Yeo ruled their deaths as suicide.

The pair were believed to have jumped from the staircase landing between the ninth and10th floor of the block.

Eight suicide notes were found in each of their bags.

Wanted to clarify

Worried that they would be mistaken as a couple after dying together, they even addressed one of the notes to the police and media. In the note, they mentioned that they were in relationships with other people and were facing different problems.

The court heard that Mernel, a Secondary 2 student at Fairfield Methodist Secondary, was supposed to turn up at the Juvenile Court at 9.30am that day.

The investigating officer, Station Inspector Teo Teck Heng, said the girl had been arrested in August 2006 for shoplifting.

Mernel was placed in a six-month Guidance Programme, but she breached the programme twice and ended up being charged in court.

She was to be sentenced on the day she died.

In a suicide note to her mother, she wrote that she had no choice as she did not want to be sent to a girls' home.

She asked that her ashes be kept at her mother's place. The teenager also wanted a very nice coffin and asked for everything, including the flowers, to be in pink.

Mernel's parents were having relationship problems at that time and her mother had moved out to a rental unit. The girl lived with her father and younger brother in Bukit Batok.

The court heard that no one had told Mernel she would be sent to a girls' home and she had come to that conclusion on her own.

Eddy, an Indonesian who was studying at a private school here, was a close friend of Mernel, who had considered him her 'godfather'.

He had problems of his own. Before he died, he wrote eight letters addressed to his family and friends.

In a letter to his parents, he confessed to having sex with an underaged girl and was afraid that they would find out.

The girl's uncle had found out about it and her family wanted to meet his parents to talk about the matter.

Eddy agreed to arrange for them to meet on 1 Oct last year. He was earlier involved in a confrontation with the girl's uncle, which involved physical violence.

But the young man could not muster the courage to tell his parents.

He had previously had sex with another underaged girl. When his parents found out, his father had hit him.

Eddy's parents live in Indonesia while he lived in Singapore with his elder sister.

Their mother often visited them.

Eddy also apologised to Mernel's mother in one of his suicide notes. He said he was sorry he could not take her daughter home as he had his own problems and had decided to die with Mernel.

Police investigations showed that two days before their deaths, Mernel and Eddy had told a mutual friend that they wanted to end their lives.

A wooden stool, two pairs of slippers and a plastic bag containing a yellowish substance, believed to be glue, were found at the staircase landing on the ninth and 10th floor of the block that the pair had jumped from.

Tube of glue

On the wall next to the stool were some pencil scribblings believed to have been written by Eddy.

It read: 'You (name of girl's uncle) force me (eddy) to jump'.

A tube of glue and glue wrapper were also found between the seventh and eighth-floor staircase landing.

Both Mernel and Eddy's toxicology report suggested that they had sniffed glue before their deaths.

The court heard that Mernel had been arrested twice previously for inhalant abuse (glue-sniffing) but was not charged.

In his findings, Mr Yeo said death was not a punishment that Mernel and Eddy should have inflicted on themselves.

'This is a very sad and unfortunate case where two very young people chose to end their lives instead of facing up to their problems,' Mr Yeo added.

'There is room for compassion in the law and forgiveness in the hearts of loved ones.'

Mernel and Eddy's families did not attend the inquiry yesterday.

From Asiaone, "Fear of punishment".

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