PHNOM PENH – A suspect arrested last week for the murder of Dutch National Daphna Beerdsen was charged on Saturday in Phnom Penh Municipal Court, a court official has said.
The suspect, 35-year-old Chea Pin, was charged with intentional murder with aggravating circumstances at the court of first instance, Heang Sopheak, the court’s vice prosecutor, said on Saturday.
Pin has since been remanded in custody and is awaiting trial at Prey Sar prison after the investigating judge issued a detention warrant for him.
“I have charged him with intentional murder with aggravated circumstances. He has now been sent to Prey Sar prison,” Sopheak said.
The suspect – a homeless man living in Wat Than pagoda near the house where Beerdsen, 31, was killed on April 28 – was arrested on Tuesday.
Pin stands accused of entering Beerdsen’s home in Chamkarmon district and attempting to steal a bicycle.
When Beerdsen shouted for help, the suspect lashed out with a screwdriver, fatally stabbing her six times, officials say.
Her 19-month-old daughter, Dana, was seriously injured in the attack and was airlifted to Bangkok on April 29.
The child was still under observation following at least three operations aimed at reducing swelling in her brain, according to a spokesman for Bangkok General, where she is being treated.
“She is still in the intensive care unit,” a hospital spokesman said yesterday, adding that he could not divulge further information.
Police, meanwhile, countered suggestions that there may be more behind the murder by pointing to property belonging to Beerdsen they say was stolen by the suspect.
“[Pin] was arrested based on real proof – after police saw the victim’s property, and confiscated the victim’s laptop [Pin] had sold to a pawn shop in Phnom Penh,” said Brigadier General Chuon Narin, deputy chief of Phnom Penh municipal police. “And he has also confessed about his crime.
“If he is found guilty, he could be facing a life sentence in prison,” he added.