Family of man on trial for 4-year-old stepdaughter's murder says he treated her & biological children equally

The trial resumes tomorrow (Feb. 5).

Syahindah Ishak | February 04, 2021, 10:57 PM

Muhammad Salihin Ismail, a 28-year-old Singaporean, is on trial for the murder of his four-year-old stepdaughter, Nursabrina Agustiani Abdullah, in September 2018.

Treated the victim and his biological children equally

During his trial in the High Court on Feb. 4, Salihin's father took the witness stand briefly for the prosecution.

He testified that the last time he saw Sabrina alive was on Hari Raya Haji in 2018, where she appeared healthy and was cheerful.

He added that Salihin had treated Sabrina and his biological twin sons equally.

Salihin's stepmother also took the stand on Feb. 3, according to CNA, and had testified that Salihin treated Sabrina "as his own daughter".

Rarely lost his temper

Salihin's two sisters were also present in court on Feb. 4 as witnesses for the prosecution.

When questioned by Deputy Public Prosecutor Senthilkumaran Sabapathy, his sisters testified that they had never seen him physically abusing Sabrina before.

They added that Salihin was a quiet man who was able to control his emotions, and rarely lost his temper.

They also said that Salihin's marriage to Sabrina's mother was a "normal" one, although they would argue occasionally.

Nearly punched his youngest brother

When questioned by defence lawyer Syazana Yahya, however, Salihin's sisters confirmed that an incident had happened in mid-2018 in which Salihin nearly punched their youngest brother.

Their brother had argued with Salihin's wife regarding a minor issue.

Salihin took it personally and immediately became angry.

His sisters had to intervene as Salihin lost his temper and was acting aggressive.

The trial will continue tomorrow (Feb. 5). If convicted of murder, Salihin can face the death penalty or life imprisonment.

The case

Punched her stomach after she urinated outside the toilet

According to court documents seen by Mothership, Salihin is accused of causing fatal injury to Sabrina some time between 9am on Sep. 1, 2018, and 9:40am on Sep. 2, 2018.

In September 2018, Salihin and his wife, Sabrina's biological mother, were trying to toilet-train Sabrina in preparation for school.

On Sep. 1, 2018, when Sabrina's mother was out for work, Salihin found a puddle of urine on the floor just outside the toilet of the flat.

He soon realised that Sabrina had urinated there.

He became angry. He subsequently called Sabrina over and placed her on the toilet bowl.

While Sabrina was seated on the toilet bowl, Salihin hit her in the stomach a few times with his fist.

Pushed her and kicked her stomach

Later in the afternoon, Sabrina indicated that she wanted to go to the toilet.

Salihin asked her to go to the toilet to urinate on her own.

After Sabrina came out of the toilet, Salihin went inside and saw that Sabrina had urinated on the floor in front of the toilet bowl.

He became angry and called Sabrina over to question her.

He then pushed her on the shoulder, causing her to fall sideways on the ground.

While Sabrina was lying on the ground, Salihin forcefully kicked her stomach at least twice, according to court documents. Sabrina started crying.

Salihin then picked up Sabrina and placed her on the toilet bowl before hitting her in the stomach a few times with his fist.

He then left Sabrina alone in the toilet. She only came out about five to 10 minutes later.

Couldn't stop vomitting

During dinner that same day, Sabrina complained that her stomach was painful and vomited on the sofa shortly after.

Salihin and his wife tried to medicate her with some ointment.

Between 1am to 8am on Sep. 2, 2018, Sabrina continued to vomit periodically.

When Salihin brought her to the toilet to vomit, he noticed that she had difficulty vomiting.

He used his index finger to ease her vomit.

Sabrina vomited and become unconscious.

Salihin attempted to resuscitate her, but was unsuccessful.

He then carried Sabrina out of the toilet and told his wife to call for an ambulance.

No heartbeat

When paramedics arrived, they checked Sabrina's breathing and pulse rate and observed that there was none.

They also applied the Automated External Defibrillator on Sabrina’s body.

However, there was no reading of any life and Sabrina's asystole line was flat.

Sabrina was subsequently conveyed to Ng Teng Fong General Hospital.

On examination, Sabrina was not breathing and there was no heartbeat.

After resuscitation efforts failed, she was pronounced dead at 10:12am on Sep. 2, 2018.

The next day, Salihin was arrested following initial investigations.

He is also facing two other non-capital charges, according to court documents.

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Top image via Mothership & Pixabay.