THE MURDER of company executive and part-time model Noritta Samsudin (pix) on Dec 3, 2003 is one of the most famous unsolved criminal cases in Malaysia.
Almost 17 years after her death, the killer remains unidentified.
About a week before her death, Noritta, 22, celebrated Hari Raya with her family at her hometown in Kangar.
The petite UiTM graduate was in high spirits and her family was happy for her when she revealed her plan to get married the following year to her boyfriend, who was then in his 30s.
Sadly, that was not to be.
Days after returning to Kuala Lumpur, Noritta was found lifeless by her housemates at their rented unit at the Puncak Prima Galleria condominium in Desa Sri Hartamas.
Her nude body was lying face down and her limbs were bound behind her back with wires and an undergarment.
Her face was bound with pillow cases and her mouth gagged with a balled face towel.
There were no signs of a break-in and no valuables or cash were missing.
A post-mortem revealed that she was either raped or had engaged in sex prior to her death by suffocation.
Police arrested several people, including the victim’s boyfriend, her housemates and a Finnish man to assist in the murder probe but it was not until Shah Alam City Council engineer Hanif Basree Abdul Rahman, then aged 36, turned himself in that the case was concluded.
Hanif, who admitted to engaging in sexual activity regularly with Noritta, was the prime suspect at the time as DNA tests found his seminal fluids in the victim.
He was also purportedly the last person seen with her.
The engineer was subsequently charged in court for murder and put on trial.
Sordid details of promiscuity and sadomasochism were revealed at the trial.
Noritta’s housemates testified that they had encountered a “tall, dark and foul-smelling man” dashing out of their unlit apartment on the day the victim was found dead.
Forensics evidence also confirmed traces of DNA of another man at the scene of the crime.
After the lengthy trial, on July 1, 2004, the High Court acquitted Hanif without calling his defence.
The prosecution appealed against the decision and it was not until 2008 that Hanif was finally absolved of the charge when the Federal Court upheld the acquittal.
The identity of the mystery man who was possibly the perpetrator in the case was never uncovered.
However, the rumour mill to this day points at a former Cabinet minister as the “bad-odoured man” in question whose thirst for sadistic sex led to the young woman’s untimely death.