Depressed by custody battle, he killed son
Belgian expat smothers son, then tries to kill himself by crashing car
In the wee hours of last Oct 6, a police officer offered a $2 note to a man who did not have small change to buy a drink at a vending machine outside the Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC).
The man had cuts and scrapes on his forearms and seemed disoriented. The needle of an intravenous drip was attached to his right hand, and his left wrist had a hospital identification tag.
Assistant Superintendent of Police (ASP) Azri Aldrin Lim Teck Guan struck up a conversation with the man, Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart, which led to a shocking confession.
"I have done something bad to my son. I have done something really bad to my son," said Graffart.
When the police went to his 32nd-storey apartment at D'Leedon Condominium at Leedon Heights, they found five-year-old Keryan Gabriel Cedric Graffart lying motionless in the master bedroom.
The boy was pronounced dead at 6.17am.
Yesterday, Graffart, 42, pleaded guilty to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
The High Court heard that the Belgian expat was depressed over an ongoing custody battle with his French wife over Keryan when he smothered the sleeping boy with a cushion between 9pm and 10.17pm on Oct 5.
Graffart then cradled his dead son in his arms and cried. He told him that he "was going to join him" and left the room.
Graffart then tried to kill himself by speeding down the Marina Costal Expressway and deliberately crashing his Audi sedan into the tunnel wall after releasing his seat belt.
But he escaped with minor injuries after the airbags deployed.
HE CALLED POLICE
After he was taken to Singapore General Hospital, he called the police twice about the accident, but then left before they arrived.
Graffart went home where he contemplated other forms of suicide, but did not act on it, said court documents. (See report below)
Around 4am, he went to Bukit Timah NPC where he met ASP Lim.
The court heard yesterday that on the afternoon of Oct 5, Graffart became distressed after receiving an unexpected affidavit from his wife's lawyer through his lawyer, Ms Poonam Lachman Mirchandani.
The affidavit was about Keryan's care and custody proceedings, and contained transcripts of discussions between Graffart and his wife, Ms Theodet Gwendoline Cecile Anne, 40.
Graffart felt betrayed and accused his wife of divulging their private discussions to her lawyers.
He also faced mounting pressure about his next course of action in their custody battle.
Court documents said that shortly after the unexpected affidavit, Graffart, who was head of Asia Pacific fund distribution at Nordea Bank, thought about suicide but resisted it after thinking of his son.
In a series of e-mails to his lawyer, Graffart wrote: "I can't continue like this, I am so tired and don't know what to do. I am so afraid to lose my son or the relation (sic) I have with him.
"I want to find a way out and be cleaned of all this past (sic). I made such big mistakes I will not do anymore. (sic)"
The couple's 2011 marriage broke down in early 2014. They decided to separate but could not agree on custody matters regarding their son.
On the evening of Oct 5, Graffart did a number of Google searches on his phone - one on how long it took to suffocate a person and another on whether one could survive a crash at 150kmh.
After putting Keryan to sleep, Graffart pressed a cushion on the boy's face and suffocated him.
An autopsy report stated that the boy had bruises and abrasions on his forehead and face.
A toxicology report found Zolpidem - a hypnotic medicine used to treat insomnia that is not recommended for children - in Keryan's blood.
A psychiatric report by the Institute of Mental Health said Graffart was suffering from major depressive disorder which had substantially impaired his thinking process and judgment of his acts, leading to the death of his son.
The initial charge of murder was later amended to the lesser offence of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.
Graffart, who faces jail of up to 10 years, a fine and caning, is expected to be sentenced on Aug 22.
1 Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart smothers his son Keryan to death with a cushion while the boy is asleep. When Keryan stops moving, Graffart cradles him in his arms. He then positions Keryan on the bed, lying face up.
Graffart places his son's hands on his stomach and covers him up to his neck with a blanket.
2 Graffart speeds along MCE and deliberately crashes into the tunnel wall. The impact deploys the car's airbags. Graffart is taken to SGH in an ambulance. He is to remain in the hospital for observation but leaves on his own.
3 When Graffart tries to buy a drink at the vending machine outside Bukit Timah NPC, ASP Lim approached him and offered him a $2 note. ASP Lim speaks to Graffart, who seems disoriented. Graffart also has the needle of an IV
drip attached to his right hand and a hospital identification tag on his left wrist. He later tells ASP Lim that he has ''done something bad'' to his son.
OCT 5, 2015
Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart suffocates his sleeping son with a cushion. He cradles Keryan's body and tells him that he loves him and is "going to join him".
Graffart leaves D'Leedon condominium is his car.
He deliberately crashes the car into the wall at the Marina Costal Expressway tunnel at speed, but survives. An ambulance takes him to Singapore General Hospital where he is examined, given painkillers and placed under observation.
Graffart calls 999 while at SGH and asks to speak to a police officer about the crash.
He calls the police hotline again and asks for an officer to meet him. He is advised to remain at SGH and wait for the police, but he leaves.
He takes an Uber ride home. He contemplates jumping off the balcony of his 32nd-storey unit, but decides against it.
He walks to the condo pool with a knife and a letter he had written to his wife. He contemplates suicide again by stabbing or cutting himself, but can't bring himself to do it.
He books an Uber car and asks to be taken to the nearest police station - Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre (NPC) at 1, Duke's Road.
When he does not have small change to buy a drink at the vending machine outside the NPC, ASP Azri Aldrin Lim Teck Guan offers him a $2 note. While talking to ASP Lim, Graffart confesses that he did "something bad" to his son at his home.
The police find Keryan lying motionless in the master bedroom of the apartment.
Keryan is pronounced dead by paramedics, and Graffart is arrested.
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Samaritans of Singapore
1800 221 4444
Singapore Association for Mental Health
1800 283 7019
Care Corner Mandarin Counselling Centre
1800 353 5800