Jail term for coffee poisoner

Coffee - Beans  Picture: Richard Semik
Coffee – Beans
Picture: Richard Semik

A young Indonesian woman was jailed for 20 years yesterday for murdering a college friend by poisoning her coffee, capping a sensational trial that has gripped the country.

Jessica Kumala Wongso, also an Australian permanent resident, was found guilty of murdering Wayan Mirna Salihin.

“The defendant’s act was deplorable and sadistic because it was committed against her own friend,” presiding Judge Kisworo, who like many Indonesians goes by one name, told the court.

Wongso, 28, told the court: “I cannot accept the verdict. It’s very unfair. ”

Her legal team said they would file an appeal.

Prosecutors said Wongso murdered Salihin, 27, in January by slipping cyanide into her Vietnamese iced coffee in a cafe at one of Jakarta’s fanciest malls.

The victim collapsed after consuming the drink and died shortly afterwards.

The soap opera-style tale of two members of the wealthy elite having a dramatic fallout that culminated in murder has captivated Indonesia, where it has been dubbed the poisoned coffee case.

It has also generated huge interest in Australia, where the women studied together at a design college.

The 20-year sentence was in line with what prosecutors had demanded for Wongso, who denied the charge of premeditated murder.

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