Last week, a 27-year-old woman pleaded guilty on Friday (10 May) for slapping her 23-month-old son so hard that he hit his head and suffered permanent brain damage.
The incident allegedly took place last year (Mar 25, 2018).
She broke three laws: one charge of child abuse under the Children and Young Persons Act, and two counts of voluntarily causing grievous hurt. She now faces up to 10 years in jail.
One of many incidences
The single mother of three reportedly has a long history of abusing her child, who is the second of her three sons.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Grace Chua, she would frequently grow frustrated because he was found to have a developmental delay, and so would punish him often and severely.
These are some of the recorded abuses towards her son prior to March 25th, 2018.
In one instance, she punched her son’s chest more than 5 times out of anger towards his failure at following “simple” instructions.
In another, she pulled his left arm so hard, she heard a “crack” sound. “The victim wanted to cry but dared not to cry out loud,” said Deputy Public Prosecutor Grace Chua.
On another account, a bump appeared on his arm after an episode that started to swell. She had massaged his arm but did not seek immediate medical care. Only later at KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH), did the x-ray results reveal a fracture.
But things got much worse
March 25th proved the turning point when she was bathing her children at their home. She found the boy digging around in his diapers, allegedly playing with his own faeces which set her off. She slapped him on the face, twice.
The second slap was so hard, that the baby fell and hit his head on a nearby metal table.
At first, the baby was crying “violently”. When he couldn’t be pacified, he started to convulse. His mother massaged some oil on him thinking that would calm him down but he went semi-unconscious soon after.
She didn’t want to call an ambulance at first, for fear that it would lead to the authorities taking her children away from her. At her friend’s urging, she finally called for an ambulance 15 minutes after.
He was rushed to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) where he had to undergo urgent surgery to remove a part of his skull to release a blood clot.
When his condition was stabilised, he was transferred to KK Women’s and Children’s Hospital (KKH) where he was diagnosed with spastic-dystonic cerebral palsy due to head trauma. His developmental age was assessed to be that of a six-month-old and he would be dependent for all his daily needs from now on.
He now needs a direct feeding tube attached to his stomach after his injuries have left him unable to be fed orally. He suffers from muscle spasms and has lost his full ability to control his head and upper body.
Thankfully his condition has somewhat improved at this time, as he could crawl and walk with some assistance. And he has been accepted into an early intervention program.
The mother’s sentencing and mitigation is set for a later date in court.