It’s difficult to fathom how a mother could deliberately cause the death of her own child, but as one mother in Singapore proved, such is a reality for some unfortunate souls.
Described as “one of the saddest cases of child abuse,” 34-year-old Noraidah Mohd Yussof’s crime happened in 2014.
She had wanted her four-year-old son to be able to recite the numbers 11 to 18 in Malay, says a Straits Times report.
The boy failed.
“The response from Noraidah Mohd Yussof was to push him repeatedly—causing him to hit his head on the floor—step on him, and grab him by the neck until he was lifted off the ground against the wall.”
At the hospital, where doctors removed a part of the boy’s skull to relieve the swelling in his head, Mohammad Airyl Amirul Haziq Mohamed Ariff died four days later despite efforts to save him.
In Noraidah’s sentencing, the judge rejected the defense’s contention that she was suffering from Asperger’s syndrome.
Justice Lee Seiu Kin accepted instead accepted psychiatrist Subhash Gupta’s evidence which states that Noraidah is possessed of “personality aberrations,” making her intolerant to frustration, act impulsively, and prone to blame others.
As it turns out, she had previously abused her son when he was two, back in 2012.
“The court heard that in 2012, when the boy was two, Noraidah, became irritated when teaching him the alphabet,” the same report says. “She pushed him and stepped on his ribs when he fell.
“She also twisted his hand when he scribbled on a sofa. She later took him to hospital, where he was found with fractures to an elbow, calf and four ribs, as well as multiple bruises.”
That same year, the Ministry of Social and Family Development ordered Noraidah’s brother and sister-in-law to care for the boy. However, he later returned to her mother’s care.
Noraidah admitted to six instances of physical abuse (one in March 2012 and five in August 2014), and for this the prosecution had initially sought 12 years of jail time for her.
On the other hand, her defense argued for less than ten years’ jail.
In the end she was sentenced to eight years in jail for what she had done to her own son.
READ: What’s the difference between child discipline and punishment?
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