River Valley High death: Investigations suggest axe was bought online, says K Shanmugam

River Valley High death: Investigations suggest axe was bought online, says K Shanmugam

Police car at River Valley High School
Police vehicles are seen at River Valley High School on Jul 19, 2021. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: Preliminary investigations suggest that an axe seized as a case exhibit in the death of a student at River Valley High School was bought online, said Law and Home Affairs Minister K Shanmugam on Tuesday (Jul 20).

A 16-year-old boy was on Tuesday morning charged with murder over the death of a 13-year-old boy at a toilet in the school compound the day before.

In a Facebook post, Mr Shanmugam said that questions were being asked about how the 16-year-old boy got an axe.

Preliminary investigations suggest that it was purchased online, but "we will know the full facts only after investigations are completed", said the minister.

READ: River Valley High death - Axe seized by police; suspect and victim 'not known to each other'

Mr Shanmugam added: "One of the worst things that can happen to parents is to hear, from school, that their child has been killed.

"It's completely shocking because safety is assumed and normally (in Singapore anyway) assured."

The accused and the victim were Secondary 4 and Secondary 1 students at River Valley High School respectively.

Preliminary investigations showed that they did not know each other, but police earlier said they were continuing to investigate the motive for the alleged assault.

Mr Shanmugam noted that there was "some history of mental health issues" involved in the case.

The police prosecutor on Tuesday said that the accused was previously seen as a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH).

READ: Teenager charged with murdering fellow student at River Valley High School

"In 2019, the police attended to an incident of attempted suicide involving the then 14-year-old. Following the incident, he was taken into custody for his safety and subsequently referred to IMH for assessment. He was then discharged," he told the court.

The boy's lawyer also confirmed that this happened when his client was in Secondary 2.

The teenager has been remanded for psychiatric observation and is set to return to court on Aug 10.

The police earlier urged the public to refrain from speculating on the case, out of respect for the family of the victim.

"We all grieve with the parents of the boy who was killed. It's difficult to even describe the true extent of their grief," said Mr Shanmugam.

Source: CNA/dv

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