Khaw Kim Sun, the Malaysian professor has been found guilty of murdering his wife and teenage daughter using a gas filled yoga ball.
The jury of five men and four women returned their verdict after almost seven hours of deliberation.
Chinese University associate professor Khaw Kim Sun, 53, was accused of putting a yoga ball, leaking carbon monoxide, into his wife's car. Wong Siew Fing, 47, and their 16-year-old daughter Lily Khaw Li-ling were found unresponsive in the car parked at the Sai O Village bus stop, a four-minute drive from their home at Tai Tung Village in Ma On Shan.
The cause of their deaths was found to be carbon monoxide poisoning and the car was tested but found to be safe. Investigators then turned their attention to the deflated yoga ball found in the car with them.
Khaw and his lawyer, Gerard McCoy SC, suggested Lily had placed the ball in the car, possibly to commit suicide or to use the gas as a pesticide to kill bugs. Khaw admitted filling the yoga ball with carbon monoxide and taking it home. He claimed he was going to use the gas to kill rats.
Throughout the 21-day trial, prosecutor Andrew Bruce SC portrayed the incident as a “calculated and deliberate” murder plot executed by Khaw amid a deteriorating relationship with his wife and while he was having an affair with a student, Shara Lee.
But pharmacologist called by the defence, Nicholas Buckley, said carrying a deadly gas in a yoga ball was “crazy” and extremely dangerous.
To perfect the killings, Bruce said, the doctor went out of his way to set up an experiment as a cover to obtain the gas – a suggestion fiercely contested by Khaw’s lawyers during the highly technical trial that featured a long list of doctors and professors as both prosecution and defence witnesses.
But prosecutors could present no more than a circumstantial case, as no one witnessed who placed the yoga ball in the car and when.
During the trial, Khaw’s friends described him as a clever man and skilled anaesthesiologist with an “avant-garde” mind who had successfully contributed to the field of gynaecology.
But he was also a demanding father who failed to understand his children, according to his eldest daughter.