SINGAPORE — A mother of three admitted to abusing her two daughters, with her violence against the girls captured on CCTV footage.
The 38-year-old appeared in court via videolink on Thursday (16 September) to plead guilty to seven of her 11 charges – all of which are for ill-treating her daughters.
The eldest daughter, now 10, often bore the brunt of the assault, and at one point lost a tooth from a particularly brutal slap from her mother. The girl was eight and 10 years old at the time of the offences.
Her second daughter, now six, was four at the time of the offences. The woman has a son whose age was undisclosed. He is not a victim.
All the children cannot be named due to a gag order imposed by the court.
On 21 June 2019, the police received a report from the KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH) that the woman had assaulted, slapped and kicked the eldest daughter, causing her to lose two front teeth.
Around 19 December 2018, the father installed a CCTV camera in the living room as his wife would often leave the three children alone at home.
On 18 June 2019, the man came home to find that his eldest daughter’s front teeth were broken. The girl revealed that her mother had kicked her, causing her mouth to bleed and her front teeth to break. The father brought the girl to seek medical attention at KKH.
He then checked the CCTV recordings and discovered that his wife had assaulted the two girls on other occasions.
The girl later revealed that her mother began beating her when she was in kindergarten. The beatings worsened in 2018, when the girl began attending primary school. The girl did not speak of the assault to anyone as she was afraid her mother would beat her more. She did not know she could confide in her schoolteachers.
When confronted, the woman said she was “disciplining her children as they were very naughty”. She claimed that she only hit them when necessary, and would mostly scold or ground them in their room or make them face the wall.
The abuse occurred from June 2019 to August 2021, with CCTV footage revealing the woman’s brutality towards her eldest daughter. In the seven recordings played in court, she can be seen flinging the girl onto the floor, dragging her by her hair from the living room to the bedroom, and throwing a marker at her head. She is also seen slapping and kicking the girl.
In the only footage with audio played in court, the woman can be seen pulling her daughter’s ear in the kitchen and scolding her in a mixture of English and Malay, with the girl heard sobbing.
At the end of the exchange, the woman is heard yelling, “Now get out of my face” at the girl, who scurries from the kitchen.
When the woman was investigated, she would deny certain actions.
Following an incident on 5 July 2019, after the woman had pinched her younger daughter and slapped her face, both girls were temporarily taken from the home on 22 August 2019 by a Child Protection Officer. However, the children were returned afterwards and the abuse continued.
On 1 December 2019, the woman threw a marker pen at her elder daughter’s forehead after the girl complained about her siblings. Realising that her daughter’s head was bleeding, the woman told the girl she “deserved it” and asked her to “get out of the house”, prompting an apology from the girl.
Her husband alerted the Child Protection Officer, who then said she would come by the house the next day. Upon finding out that the officer was coming by, the woman asked her daughter to lie that the girl and her mother had merely been playing when a toy hit her forehead.
After noticing that his wife was losing his temper at the children for no reason in August this year, the man viewed CCTV and was shocked to see his wife abusing their daughters again earlier in the year, despite being charged for child abuse and placed on bail. He alerted Child Protection Services.
In the course of investigations, the woman claimed that she was discipling her daughter to behave as she was going to jail.
A psychiatric report stated that the woman did not have a diagnosable mental illness at time of offences, nor does she currently suffer from any condition.
She also failed to demonstrate a convincing level of insight into how her methods would affect the children’s emotional, social and cognitive development.
The woman also displayed a degree of resistance in adopting alternative acceptable methods to teach her children.
The report stated that any future interaction between the woman and her children should be strictly supervised by responsible adults, as the possibility of her using harsh punishment on her children remained high.
She will return to court for her sentencing on 29 September.
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