Man threw Molotov cocktail at ex-wife’s house in revenge

Wan Ting Koh
·Senior Reporter
·4 min read
Man holding a lit Molotov cocktail
Man holding a lit Molotov cocktail. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — Wanting revenge on his ex-wife, a man left his house during the circuit breaker period last year, prepared a Molotov cocktail and lobbed it at his ex-wife’s house.

Ismail Didih Ibrahim, 36, had first sprayed O$P$ on his ex-wife’s house, even though no one in that house had borrowed money from loansharks.

Fortunately, the fire was put out and no one was hurt.

Ismail, a Singaporean who works as a manager at his parent’s restaurant, pleaded guilty to one count of committing mischief by fire and one count of leaving his residence without a reasonable excuse on Monday (26 April). One count of mischief will be taken into consideration for his sentencing.

Ismail married the victim, a 32-year-old Singaporean, in 2017 but they divorced in February 2019.

Thought of a disguise

On 12 May last year, weeks into the circuit breaker period, the man felt angry at his ex-wife and wanted to take revenge on her. He went to the storeroom in his house to take an empty bottle, a bottle half-filled with paint thinner, some rags, and a spray-can of black paint. He wanted to make his ex-wife “not be in peace”, said the prosecution.

He then took a white raincoat from his room to use as a disguise before driving to the victim’s house at Telok Kurau. 

Ismail parked his car in a street adjacent to the victim’s house and was seen on CCTV footage going to the boot of his car and preparing a Molotov cocktail by pouring repeatedly the paint thinner into the empty bottle and stuffing rags on the top.

He would glance around the mostly deserted street to see if anyone was watching him.

After about five minutes, Ismail walked over to the victim’s house wearing the raincoat. He placed the Molotov cocktail in nearby bushes and sprayed O$P$ on the house. At the time, the victim, her brother, and her parents were at home, as it was circuit breaker period. It was also the Muslim fasting month and the group had just broken their fast.

Ismail then retrieved the Molotov cocktail, lit it, and threw it onto the wooden front porch of the house. The Molotov cocktail landed next to wooden boards and a blaze occurred.

Ismail left hurriedly, but was caught by in-car camera footage from a nearby vehicle. On the way back to his car, Ismail threw away the raincoat, and the other items he had with him. He changed his outfit to look different in order to avoid detection. Due to his change in clothes, the police had difficulty locating him at first.

As the ex-wife’s family were all upstairs, no one heard the glass shatter or noticed the fire. It was however, noticed by the victim’s neighbour.

The neighbour and her family quickly put out the fire with water, and then called the victim’s family, who then called the police.

Material damage and emotional scars

The fire caused damage to a car’s fender and mirror. The front porch’s floor tiles, walls, and pillars were also damaged. In total, repairs cost between $5,000 and $6,000.

The ex-wife said that as a result of the incident, she felt traumatised and unsafe and had to see her counsellor more frequently. Her family have since installed CCTV cameras as well. Ismail has since made voluntary restitution of $5,000 to his ex-wife, and donated $3,000 to three charities of the her choice.

Police officers who arrived at the scene thought that the damage was caused by illegal moneylending due to the “O$P$”. Further investigations later revealed that Ismail had done it out of malice.

Ismail will be sentenced on 21 June.

Mischief by fire or any explosive substance, intending to cause damage to any property, carries a jail term of up to seven years and a fine. For leaving his residence during the circuit breaker period, he faces a jail term of up to six months and/or a fine of up to $10,000.

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