S'pore woman raped by brother as a child jailed for trying to kill own son 'peacefully' with insulin injections

She had planned to set her family on fire and kill herself, but wanted favourite son to die a "peaceful" death.

Julia Yeo | May 06, 2021, 12:13 AM

A woman in Singapore, who was raped and molested by her brother as a child, planned to set her entire family on fire and kill herself, but wanted to kill her favourite son by injecting insulin into him as she did not want him to die in pain.

The woman, now 29, was on May 5 sentenced to five years' jail for poisoning her son, reported CNA.

According to court documents seen by Mothership, the woman started injecting her son with doses of insulin on numerous occasions since he was six to seven years old, endangering his life in a few cases where his blood sugar level fell to dangerously low levels.

Raped and molested as a child

The woman had developed a post-traumatic stress disorder having been exposed to sexual violence after being raped by her elder brother and allegedly her father as well, between the age of 9 to 12.

After the incidents came to light when she was 13, her brother was sentenced to two years in a boys' home. Due to the rape and molest incidents, she grew to harbour hate for her brother.

Her relationship with her mother also deteriorated after the incidents, as she felt that her mother had taken her brother's side instead of hers.

After learning that her brother's wife was pregnant and due to give birth in 2019, the accused grew angry with him for being able to move on with his life, believing that he did not deserve happiness after the hurt he inflicted on her.

Wanted to kill family and herself

Hatching a plan to kill herself and her family by setting on fire her mother, brother, and her three children after her brother's wife gave birth, she intended to burn everyone alive with gasoline, except her favourite son, as she wanted to give him a "peaceful" death, and did not want him to die in pain.

At the same time, she felt that her son resembled her brother, and began developing hatred towards him as he reminded her of what her brother had done.

Searching online for peaceful ways to die, she chanced upon the method of injecting insulin into a person to cause death.

She learnt that a high dosage of insulin could cause a person’s blood sugar level to crash, which would lead to brain damage, coma or death.

Administered insulin to her son on 13 occasions

She decided to use this method to kill her son in September 2019 by injecting two to three insulin pens at one go, injecting a high dosage into him each time.

She purchased three insulin pens from a pharmacy in Malaysia sometime in January 2019, and learnt how to use them via YouTube videos.

In the same month, she brought her son to Causeway Point for lunch, where she brought him into a toilet and injected the insulin in him after a meal, for the first time.

She noticed that he was extra hungry while observing him for a few days.

The woman continued to administer her son with insulin on 13 occasions between January to July 2019, injecting 20 to 30 units each time.

After using up the three pens she bought, the woman bought another box of three insulin pens in Malaysia, which were seized by the police in June 2019.

Son was admitted to hospital multiple times

As a result of the insulin jabs, her son would feel hungry, sleepy, and have a headache after the jab. His blood sugar level also fell due to it.

He also began feeling other side effects such as severe headaches, nausea, vomiting, double vision, tinnitus, photosensitivity and numbness in fingers.

He was admitted to the National University Hospital (NUH) on three occasions in June 2019.

Claimed to teacher that son had multiple illnesses

On July 2, 2019, the woman informed the doctor during a review that her son had a hypoglycaemic seizure during a school trip to the zoo on July 1, 2019, describing that he was sweating and shivering, thus administering insulin to him.

However, the hospital was informed by a teacher that the boy was well during the visit to the zoo, and did not have a seizure.

According to the teacher, who was a witness to the case, the woman had told her that her son had leukaemia and only had a few months left to live, and had an eye tumour which required surgery.

She also claimed that her son needed a liver transplant which would be donated by his father, and also produced a doctor's memo stating that her son was on steroids, and had Kawasaki disease, and was on medication for it.

Hospital discovers plan

On July 16, 2019, a child therapist spoke to her son, and learnt that the woman had been injecting him with medication with a dark blue pen on several occasions on his arms and buttocks.

The boy also told a nurse that he felt hungry after the injection, opening his haversack to show her the biscuits and sweets that were inside.

The woman admitted on July 16 to injecting insulin into her son after being confronted by the hospital. The police were then alerted to the incident.

Woman suffering from major depressive disorder and PTSD

The woman was found to have major depressive disorder of moderate severity at the time of offence, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), which persisted from multiple occasions of sexual violence from her biological brother and father, according to the psychiatric report.

She was also found to be a pathological liar, with the report classifying her case as a "classic representation of a case of Munchausen Syndrome by Proxy", as she deliberately harmed her child to produce symptoms in him, to attract attention to herself, the report said.

The psychiatric report concluded that while her disorders contributed to her offences, she was not of unsound mind, and was aware that her actions could harm or even kill her son.

Prosecution wanted six years' jail for woman

In Deputy Public Prosecutors Bhajanvir Singh and Lim Yu Hui's submissions, they asked for a sentence of six years in prison for the woman, arguing that she had inflicted serious harm on her defenceless son, endangering his life on a few occasions.

While she has shown some improvement due to the counselling, therapy and medication she has been receiving in remand, she remains "an unreliable and ineffective mother", said the prosecution, reported CNA.

She has also continued to lie that her son was fathered as a result of her brother's rape, so that she would "enjoy more sympathy".

The prosecution explained that the jail time would be sufficient to address not only the need for deterrence and retribution, but also provide the time the woman requires for treatment for her psychiatric condition.

Defence lawyer Ng Pei Qi argued that a sentence of six years was not warranted, and asked for four years instead, reported CNA.

Ng pointed out that the woman was "a slave" to her mental disorders and felt guilty as she fed her son snacks after the injections, hoping to counter the effects of insulin.

Calling the case a "tragic backlash of years of untreated trauma", the defence said the woman was not a "cold-blooded" mother but a victim whose trauma caught up with her, according to CNA.

Sentencing the woman to five years' jail, the judge noted that her conduct was "clearly reprehensible", but that her mental disorders had substantially impaired her mental responsibility for the acts.

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