Toddler dies after abuse by mum and her boyfriend
Boy, 2, dies after horrific abuse by mother and her live-in boyfriend. Prosecutor says: His home was like a 'concentration camp'
For little Daniel, who was just two years old when he died, home should have been where he felt safest, where he should have beenloved and protected.
But the Telok Blangah flat where he spent his brief life was a house of horrors where, for more than a month, he was abused almost daily.
Day after day, the toddler, who was born Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser, would be slapped, kicked and stamped on, until he took a fatal blow to his head that ended his month of suffering.
One of his two tormentors was his mother, the person who should have loved and protected him.
The other was her live-in boyfriend.
Yesterday, Zaidah, 41, who goes by only one name, and Zaini Jamari, 46, each pleaded guilty in court to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Daniel, and three counts of ill-treating him.
The court was told that the couple, who are both cleaners, had abused Daniel almost every day for more than a month until he died of a head injury on Nov 23 last year.
Between Oct 18 and Nov 22, they repeatedly slapped and kicked him, and forcefully fed him chilli.
Once, Zaidah stamped him on his chest after he fell when she hit him.
The abuse in a one-room rental flat at Block 19, Telok Blangah Crescent, was so horrifying that Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh likened Daniel's living conditions to that of a "concentration camp".
Zaidah also faced 26 other charges of ill-treating her son, while Zaini had another 18 charges. They will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that Daniel was Zaidah's fourth of six children.
Her three older children, of whom the eldest is 20 years old, no longer live with her. Their father is not known. Daniel's father was in prison when he was born. Zaidah has since lost contact with him.
A check on the Registry of Muslim Marriages shows that she had been married once, to another man in 1991.
Her fifth child, conceived with Zaini, is a girl who is now almost two. She was about seven months pregnant with her sixth child when she started abusing Daniel.
The family lived in the flat which was rented by her friend, Ms Puspawati Abdul Razat, 50. Ms Puspawati's 15-year-old niece also lived there.
From September to early October last year, Daniel and his half-sister were placed in the care of another woman, Ms Yusnita Mohamed Idrus, 41.
But she stopped in mid-October because she had to undergo an operation later that month.
On Oct 21, Ms Puspawati's niece came home and saw Zaidah punishing Daniel by making him stand beside a fan, DPP Poh told the court.
When the toddler became sleepy and could no longer stand straight, Zaidah slapped his face several times and shouted in Malay: "When night (falls), you do not want to sleep, when morning (comes), you want to sleep."
She then kicked his stomach when he fell to the floor.
Zaini then pulled the boy up by his hand and forced him into the kitchen, and punished him by making him stand there.
On Nov 9, Zaidah made her son stand with both his hands on top of his head as punishment.
When she complained to Zaini about the toddler, he kicked the boy hard on his back, then kicked him again on his rib after he fell to the floor.
Six days later, Ms Puspawati's niece noticed that Daniel was again standing beside the fan as punishment.
For no apparent reason, Zaidah suddenly slapped his face hard several times until he fell to the floor.
After she kicked him, Zaini stepped forward and slapped his face before kicking his stomach about five times.
On Nov 18, Zaidah slapped the boy until his mouth bled. When he fell, she twisted both his hands and stepped on them.
After that, she carried him by his hands and legs to the toilet before changing his nappy on the bed.
Between 10am and noon four days later, she tried to feed him but he refused to eat.
Zaidah then slapped his face thrice before passing the bowl of food to Zaini.
When Daniel continued refusing to eat, they slapped him.
Zaidah then hit his back until he fell. When he did not get up, she forcefully stamped on his chest with her right leg.
She also yanked his left arm to make him stand. Daniel managed to swallow about three spoonfuls of food before refusing to eat any more. She then ordered him to stand in a corner.
At around 8pm, he was made to stand near the bed.
When the tired toddler rested his hand on the bed frame, Zaidah slapped his face several times before Zaini joined in.
DPP Poh said: "The deceased then lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. (Zaini) then brought him to the fridge and force-fed him two spoonfuls of dried chilli.
"As the deceased was still weak and did not respond, (Zaini) brought him to the toilet and washed the dried chilli from his mouth. He then punished the deceased again by making him stand in the living room."
The toddler was still standing about 45 minutes later. Tired from the punishment, he could not stand properly and almost fainted.
When Zaidah saw this, she shouted at him, pinched his body and cheeks before slapping him several times.
Though Daniel was weak by then, she thought he was pretending and complained to Zaini, who then slapped him several times.
When one of the blows missed and landed on his daughter, Zaidah got angry and kicked Daniel on the chest and stomach several times.
Zaini also kicked his stomach, and the boy hit his head against the floor when he fell.
After that, Zaini forced dried chilli down his throat, causing mucus to flow from his nose.
He then took the toddler to the toilet and washed his face before ordering him to sleep.
Around 8am the next day, he tried to wake Daniel but the boy was motionless.
He alerted Zaidah and they tried to rouse the boy but failed.
Ms Puspawati and her niece called an ambulance, and Daniel was taken to the Singapore General Hospital.
He was pronounced dead about an hour later.
DPP Poh said the couple were not suffering from any mental disorders when they abused Daniel.
Zaidah and Zaini will be sentenced on July 5.
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, they can each be jailed up to 10 years and fined. Zaini can also be caned.
And for each count of ill-treating Daniel, they can each be jailed up to four years and fined up to $4,000.
SOME OF THE ABUSES DANIEL SUFFERED
• slapped in face
• kicked in the chest, stomach, back, ribs
• forced to stand with hands on head
• hands twisted, stepped on
• forced to eat
• force-fed dried chilli
• pinched on body, cheeks
He then lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. (Zaini) then brought him to the fridge and force fed him two spoonfuls of dried chilli.
- Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh, describing one of the abuses by Zaini, the boyfriend of the boy's mother
TNP INFOGRAPHICS: HO YAN HAO
TNP INFOGRAPHICS: HO YAN HAO
DPP: Abusers 'displayed a callous lack of remorse'
A woman and her boyfriend abused her two-year-old biological son until he died last year.
When cleaner Zaidah, 41, who goes by only one name, stood in the dock yesterday to answer for her crime, she did not show any emotion and was dry-eyed.
Zaidah and her boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46, who is also a cleaner, were expressionless when they faced Principal District Judge Bala Reddy.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh said the couple had "displayed a callous lack of remorse", adding that this was shown by their initial attempt to cover up the abuse.
The court heard that an ambulance was called when the toddler, Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser, was found motionless around 8am on Nov 23 last year.
When a paramedic asked Zaidah about his injuries, she lied that Daniel had a habit of pinching himself.
When interviewed by the police, the couple said the bump on his forehead was the result of his falling on the toilet floor.
They later went back to the one-room rental flat at Block 19, Telok Blangah Crescent, they were living in at 7pm and "coolly watched television", said DPP Poh.
The court also heard that the couple had previous criminal convictions.
Zaidah was in and out of drug rehabilitation centres from 1996 to 1997 after consuming morphine. In 2006, she was jailed for 5½ years for morphine abuse.
DPP Poh said that Zaini was placed on probation for a year in 1985 for housebreaking and theft by day.
She urged the court to jail him for at least nine years, with nine to 12 strokes of the cane for his current offences.
She asked for Zaidah to be jailed for a longer term because, being a woman, she cannot be caned.
In mitigation, the couple, who did not have a lawyer, pleaded for leniency and promised not to commit the offence again.
DPP Poh added that Daniel was clad in only diapers when he was abused and the blows landed on bare skin.
She said: "Unlike an older child who may have the maturity and physical strength to protect one's self by running away, the deceased had no means of escape from the one-room HDB unit. He was entrapped.
"(Zaidah's and Zaini's) crimes towards the defenceless two-year-old child are, simply put, horrific and inhumane."