BUS driver Ong Pang Siew, originally sentenced to hang for killing his stepdaughter, has escaped the gallows.

The Court of Appeal on Monday overturned his murder conviction after it ruled that his depressed mental state reduced his responsibility for the killing.

The three-judge appeal court agreed with the High Court trial judge that Ong, 46, has the intention to kill or cause lethal injury Ong Pan Hui, 15.

However, the appeal court was convinced by the evidence of the defence psychiatrist, Dr Tommy Tan, that Ong suffered from a major depressive disorder.

Justice very. K. Rajah, delivering the court's decision, said that Ong's bizarre behaviour, such as laughing and crying while strangling the teenager and banging his head against the wall after the police arrived, further showed this abnormal mental state.

Ong had killed Pan Hui at the Marsiling Drive flat she shared with her mother in October 2007, a few weeks after his ex-wife was granted a divorce from him. The case has been sent back to the High Court for Ong to be sentenced at a later date.

Bus driver escapes gallows