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Mother with mental illness admits cutting son's arm with scissors

SINGAPORE: A 43-year-old woman on Wednesday (May 25) admitted to cutting her son's arm with a scissors and hitting her daughter with a lamp when she was angry with them.

The woman, who has schizophrenia, cannot be named as her identity is protected by gag order. The identities of the victims are also protected.

She pleaded guilty to two charges of voluntarily causing hurt and one charge of breaking bail conditions. Another three charges will be considered for sentencing.

District Judge Tan Jen Tse called for a report to assess the woman's suitability for a mandatory treatment order, which directs an offender suffering from certain treatable psychiatric conditions to undergo psychiatric treatment.

The court heard that the woman has three children, including the two victims - a girl now aged 15 and a boy now aged 14 - and a 12-year-old girl.

She divorced the children's father in 2018 and shared custody with him, but retained care and control of the children.

Sometime in February 2020, when the woman was not at home, the three children entered her bedroom to use her mobile phone to call their father.

They spoke to him and left the room, but the youngest daughter wanted to speak to their father again.

She tried to climb through the window of her mother's toilet in order to get into the room, but broke the shelving inside the toilet.

When the two elder siblings heard their mother opening the main door, they distracted her while their younger sister left the toilet and room.

The woman then discovered what had happened and "flew into a rage", said Deputy Public Prosecutor Susanna Yim.

After scolding her children, she got a pair of scissors from the kitchen and cut her son's forearm at least three times by lifting and pressing the blades together, causing bleeding.

She also threatened to "chop" his finger the next time he went into her room, causing him to cry, and threw a broomstick that missed him, said Ms Yim.

In another incident in May 2020, the woman became angry with her elder daughter for dirtying her underwear.

The girl said this was because they had run out of toilet paper at home. The woman slapped the girl many times before leaving the room.

She soon returned, took a table lamp and hit her daughter more than three times with it. The girl raised her arm and the blows landed there.

The woman only stopped when the light bulb of the lamp became dislodged. She then took the bulb and threw it at her daughter. It landed on the girl's leg, and the woman left the room.


On Jun 2, 2020, the elder daughter's school counsellor wanted to speak to her. During their conversation, the girl said that her mother had scolded and physically abused her the previous month.

A child protection officer brought the three children to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for examination.

The elder daughter was found to have bruises on her arm and scars on her arm and leg. A psychologist assessed her to have some trauma symptoms including intrusive thoughts and hypervigilance.

The son had two scars on his arm and was also assessed to have some symptoms of post-traumatic stress such as negative moods.

The woman was arrested on Jan 1, 2021 and released on bail. However, she failed to report to police twice in June last year, when required for investigations. She was later arrested again in March this year.

The prosecution urged the court to call for a mandatory treatment order suitability report for the woman, who is unrepresented.

An Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report in April indicated that the woman was likely experiencing a relapse of schizophrenia during the offences, said Ms Yim.

The report also found a contributory link between the woman's mental condition and her offences, added the prosecutor.

"Given her medical vulnerabilities, poor social support with limited insight into her illnesses and history of poor compliance, she will benefit from a period of mandatory inpatient admission and rehabilitation," said Ms Yim, citing the IMH report.

The woman will be remanded at IMH for assessment and return for sentencing in June.

The punishment for voluntarily causing hurt is up to three years' jail, a fine of up to S$5,000 or both.

The penalty for failing to be available for investigations when on bail is jail for up to three years, a fine or both.

Source: CNA/dv(gr)


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