SINGAPORE: A woman who was raped and assaulted by her older brother when she was little developed traumatic symptoms that started when she saw her brother lead a “normal life” by marrying and having a child.
The woman, now 29, decided to set her entire family on fire and kill herself, but wanted to spare her favorite son, then aged six to seven, by giving him a “peaceful” death with less pain.
She injected him with insulin 13 times in seven months, giving him headaches, dangerously low blood sugar and a seizure.
The woman, who cannot be named to protect her son’s identity, was sentenced to five years in prison Wednesday May 5 on a charge of poisoning her son.
After medical staff detected something wrong with the boy’s repeated hospitalization, the woman’s offenses were discovered. She was diagnosed with major depressive disorder, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), and Munchausen syndrome, a disorder in which a person constitutes an illness.
The court heard that the woman stayed with her parents and three brothers when she was born. When she was 9 to 12 years old, one of her brothers assaulted and raped her.
He was sentenced to a boy’s house, but the woman “hated” him because of what he had done to her. Her relationship with her mother deteriorated as she felt her mother had sided with her brother.
The woman also claimed that her father also raped and assaulted her, but this has not been proven in investigations.
She ran away and got married. She lived with her husband and had two daughters and a son with him. At some point in 2017, after the death of her father, the accused’s mother moved to live with her.
In September 2018, the brother who raped her got married. A few months later, his wife became pregnant and the accused found out. The court heard that this made the accused angry with his brother for being able to get on with his life. She felt he didn’t deserve such happiness after what he had done to her.
HIS PLAN TO KILL HIS FAMILY
The accused decided to commit suicide, his mother, his brother and their three children in September 2019, when his brother’s wife gave birth. She intended to burn everyone alive with gasoline except her only son, her favorite child.
She intended to kill him by injecting him with insulin, as she didn’t want him to die in pain. At the same time, the boy reminded her of her brother and she started to hate him.
After searching online for a “peaceful” way to die, the woman accidentally resorted to insulin. She found that high doses could cause blood sugar levels to drop, leading to brain damage, coma or death. She decided to use two to three insulin pens at a time and inject a high dose into the victim.
She bought the pens in Malaysia and learned how to use them by watching YouTube. She gave the boy, then six, the first dose in January 2019 after taking him to Causeway Point for lunch. She injected insulin into his arm in the toilet after eating and observed him, noticing that he was “very hungry.”
She continued to do this between January and July 2019, giving the boy 20 to 30 units of insulin on 13 occasions. He began to experience side effects such as severe headache, nausea, vomiting, double vision, tinnitus, photosensitivity, and numbness in his fingers.
He was hospitalized three times with low blood sugar levels and a hypoglycemic attack on one occasion. The medical staff were puzzled as to the cause of his symptoms and he had to be saved with intravenous drops.
In July 2019, the victim went to the zoo for a school trip. According to a teacher, he was fine, but his mother claimed he was having a seizure and gave him insulin. The hospital later confirmed that he did not have a seizure on this occasion.
HOSPITAL DISCOVERY MAP
During a hospital visit on July 16, 2019, a therapist spoke to the victim, who said her mother injected her with drugs from a pen repeatedly on her arms and buttocks . He said he would be hungry after the medication and opened his backpack to show the cookies and candy that were inside.
Hospital staff confronted the accused that day, and after she admitted to injecting her son with insulin, the hospital called the police.
The victim presented with symptoms suggestive of PTSD and was transferred to the care of child protection services.
Her mother was arrested and then placed in pre-trial detention. She was found to be suffering from a major depressive disorder of moderate severity and PTSD as she had been repeatedly exposed to direct sexual violence from her biological father and brother, reports show psychiatric.
She turned out to be a pathological liar, her behavior towards her son showing her need for attention. One report found her case to be a “classic presentation of … Munchausen syndrome by proxy,” where she created symptoms of illness in her son to attract attention. She also displayed strong anti-social personality traits, although they are not a disorder.
Although her troubles largely contributed to the offenses, she was not ill-witted at the time and knew what she was doing and that her actions would harm or even kill her son, the reports concluded.
PROSECUTION CALLS FOR SIX YEARS IN PRISON, THE DEFENSE REQUESTS FOUR
Deputy prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh requested six years in prison for the woman, saying she needed three to four years of treatment for her rehabilitation. She cannot be relied on to be an effective and safe mother to her children, he said.
Although she has shown some improvement from the counseling, trauma-focused therapy and medication she received in pre-trial detention, she remains “an unreliable and ineffective mother,” Singh said.
She also continued to lie to her cellmates, friends and the prison counselor that her son was fathered as a result of her brother’s rape because she believed she would “get more sympathy” from this. way, he said.
While in pre-trial detention, she lost her temper with other detainees and caused temper tantrums which resulted in disciplinary action against her.
“This is usually a case where the accused could not accept the fact that his brother was able to live his life,” Singh said.
Due to this inability to come to terms with this, she harbored dangerous thoughts of killing her brother, her mother, herself and her three children. In fact, she said she intended to do so in September 2020. It coincides with when her brother’s wife gave birth. “
He said the insulin injections would have continued without the vigilance of the staff at the National University Hospital and that the accused “played with his son’s life”.
He added that the charge she faces is amalgamated and she could be jailed for up to 20 years, doubling the sentence as it is amalgamated and includes multiple offense cases.
Defense attorney Ng Pei Qi said six years is not justified, calling instead for four years in prison. She said her client had been assaulted and raped by her father and brother since the age of nine.
“Her trauma is so deeply rooted that she sees the face of her attacker in her son,” she said, calling the case a “tragic reaction to years of untreated trauma.”
The accused is a “slave” to her mental disorder and felt guilty, giving her son snacks after the injections, as she felt she was contradicting the acts of insulin.
“The court is not today convicting a woman in cold blood, who cannot come out of her past, but a victim whose trauma has caught up with her,” she said.
In response, the prosecution said the depression, although severe, could not be allowed to kill other people and that the accused knew what it was doing.
“The rape by the father is an assertion and not something which is confirmed by the investigations, while the investigations revealed that she had been molested and raped by her brother, there is no evidence that she was actually raped and assaulted by his father, ”says Mr. Singh.
The judge noted that the accused’s conduct was “manifestly reprehensible”, but also that she suffered from a mental disorder which significantly altered her mental responsibility for the acts.