Home singapore Murder trial: Stepmum might be involved in killing of 5-year-old girl, father's lawyer argues

Murder trial: Stepmum might be involved in killing of 5-year-old girl, father's lawyer argues

Murder trial: Stepmum might be involved in killing of 5-year-old girl, father's lawyer argues
A trial for a man who murdered his five-year-old daughter continued with his wife on the witness standThe man’s lawyer tried to argue that the wife might have been involved in the killingThe lawyer said that the wife’s actions were suspicious after learning that her stepdaughter had died, basing it on a video footage of her body languageSeparately, she disagreed with or said that she could not remember various points made by the husband that suggested her involvement

By Jasmine Ong Published September 20, 2023 Updated September 20, 2023 Bookmark Bookmark Share WhatsApp Telegram Facebook Twitter Email LinkedIn

SINGAPORE — The lawyer for a man accused of murdering his own five-year-old daughter suggested that his wife’s actions were suspicious and that she might have had a hand in the alleged killing.

This argument was based on a footage of her body language in a lift and a line in a letter written by her husband to her.

The woman, now aged 32, was the stepmother of the girl who was allegedly assaulted by the father and died while she lived in a bathroom of the family’s one-room flat in an almost naked state sometimes.

The girl’s younger brother was also made to live in the same state and were only let out for meals, or when either their father or stepmother needed to use the toilet.

The father, now aged 43, assaulted his daughter in August 2017 after she refused to exercise.

It was the second day of his trial on Wednesday (Sept 20) with the wife on the witness stand.

The couple are in the midst of divorce proceedings and cannot be named to protect the identities of the surviving children.

Defence counsel Mervyn Cheong referred to closed-circuit television (CCTV) footage of the stepmother taken on Aug 11 in 2017 and an e-letter from prison that was sent by her husband on July 17 in 2020 that might suggest her complicity in the alleged murder.

The husband was arrested on Aug 12, 2017.

Referring to the footage, Mr Cheong suggested that while the stepmother was in the lift, she was swaying left and right because she was worried and stressed that she caused her stepdaughter’s death. 

He also suggested that she was worried because she had caused her stepchild’s death when she hit the girl between 3am and 4am on Aug 11, 2017.

When asked if she agreed with his statements, the woman said “no”.

Mr Cheong then asked her if she agreed with various points that her husband had made after they found out that the five-year-old died.

These points included:

She asking the husband to think of something because it cannot be that both parents went to prisonShe showing him photos and videos on her mobile phone of her stepchildren beaten upShe telling him that it was better for her to smash the phone and break the SIM card for the phoneShe asking him what the plan was and the husband telling her that he had to make it look like he was drunkShe telling him that, for the sake of the children, he had to hit her to make it believable

Most of these points were either refuted or met with a “I cannot remember” by the wife.

The lawyer later briefly pointed out a line in an e-letter that was sent from the husband to her, which said: “Killing a stepchild is better you know that?”.

When asked if she remembered reading that, she said “yes”.

However, before the line of questioning could continue, Deputy Public Prosecutor Norine Tan sought a short break to obtain the e-letter from the prisons because the prosecutors were unaware of its existence.

The e-letter was later submitted as the prosecution’s evidence and used as context in the re-examination of the witness to reject the possible suggestion of the wife’s involvement.

During re-examination, the woman was asked two questions, namely if she had hit her stepdaughter and if her husband had suggested that she had caused her stepdaughter’s death.

To these, the woman responded with a firm “no” before she was released for the time being as witness.

The trial is set to continue on Thursday with new witnesses.