Teenager charged with murdering fellow student at River Valley High School

Teenager charged with murdering fellow student at River Valley High School

River Valley High School (1)
River Valley High School on Jul 19, 2021. (Photo: Calvin Oh)

SINGAPORE: A 16-year-old boy was charged on Tuesday (Jul 20) with the murder of a fellow student at River Valley High School a day before.

The Singaporean teen, who cannot be named as he is a minor and protected under the Children and Young Persons Act, was given one count of murder.

He is accused of causing the death of a 13-year-old boy in Secondary 1 between 11.16am and 11.44am on Jul 19 at a toilet on the fourth floor of the school at 6 Boon Lay Avenue.

The accused, who is a student in Secondary 4, appeared in court via video-link from remand. He was dressed in a red shirt and had tousled hair, responding "yes" to the judge at certain questions.

The police prosecutor asked the court to remand the accused at Changi Medical Centre for psychiatric evaluation.

"Your honour, the preliminary investigations revealed that the 16-year-old teenager was previously seen as a patient at the Institute of Mental Health (IMH)," he said.

"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. Given the circumstances, we are submitting that he requires psychiatric evaluation."

The boy's lawyer, Mr Peter Keith Fernando, confirmed that this happened when his client was in Secondary 2.

He added that the accused's parents had hired him to represent their son the night before. However, he said: "His parents have informed me that they are not coming to court this morning."

There was no one else in court save for court officers, police personnel and the media.

Police earlier said they received a call for help at the school at about 11.40am on Monday. Officers found the victim lying motionless and with multiple wounds at a toilet in the school compound.

He was pronounced dead at the scene and an axe was seized as a case exhibit. Preliminary investigations showed that the accused and the victim did not know each other, but police said they were continuing to investigate the motive for the alleged assault.

The judge ordered the accused to be remanded for psychiatric observation for three weeks and to return to court on Aug 10. 

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

The penalty for murder includes death. However, according to Section 314 of the Criminal Procedure Code, a sentence of death cannot be passed or recorded against an accused person who was below 18 at the time of the offence.

Instead, he or she will be sentenced to life imprisonment. 

In its statement on Monday, the police urged the public to refrain from speculating on the case, out of respect for the family of the victim.

Where to get help:

Samaritans of Singapore Hotline: 1800 221 4444

Institute of Mental Health’s Helpline: 6389 2222

Singapore Association of Mental Health Helpline: 1800 283 7019

You can also find a list of international helplines here. If someone you know is at immediate risk, call 24-hour emergency medical services.

Source: CNA/ll(dv)

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