Parents caged five-year-old son, tortured him with pliers and killed him by pouring boiling water over him
The murder charges against Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, both 27, dictate a mandatory death penalty, or life imprisonment with caning.
A Singapore couple began their trial on Tuesday for allegedly killing their five-year-old boy by pouring boiling water over him three years ago. The murder charges against Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, both 27, dictate a mandatory death penalty, or life imprisonment with caning, the Straits-Times reports.
In the months leading up to the five-year-old's death, Azlin, his mother, and Ridzuan, his father, caged him in a cat box and tortured him with heated spoons and pliers for months before he eventually succumbed to injuries caused by repeated blows to the head and water at 198 F being poured over his back and calves, prosecutors said.
Associate Professor Loh Tsee Foong, the prosecution's first witness, recounted the boy's horrific injuries in court. It was found the victim was covered with second to third-degree burns on 75 percent of his body, along with acute kidney injuries, dehydration, a broken nose, cuts on his face and isolated speech delay.
The child, who cannot be named for legal reasons, died the day after he was admitted to hospital.
In keeping with Singapore's legal system, Azlin and Ridzuan could be executed at the gallows in Changi prison if found guilty of the murder charges. The boy was taken in by a foster family shortly after his birth in 2011. However, he was returned to his biological parents in 2015.
According to Deputy Public Prosecutors Tan Wen Hsien, Daphne Lim, and Li Yihong, the abuse began a year later when the parents began to "psychologically torment the deceased in various ways."
Delving further into the abuse, the prosecutors found the parents would punish the child for even the slightest wrongdoing, hitting him with their bare fists or a broom. In a disturbing incident from August 2016, the boy was brutally beaten by his mother after he knocked over a biscuit tin. The assault left permanent marks on his stomach and he began to hobble owing to a misaligned kneecap thereafter.
Prosecutors recounted another incident when the boy's father placed a scorching metal spoon on his palm for stealing milk powder to eat. That said, the horror couple was found to have scalded the boy on at least four occasions before his tragic demise.
On October 22, 2016, the boy's mother wanted to bathe him but he refused. He was subsequently locked up in a cat cage and his father, in a bid to discipline him, poured hot water over his calf and back. Unable to bear the heat, the child topped forward and stopped moving.
But the parents did not rush him to the hospital immediately. They waited six hours before taking that decision. The parents were arrested soon after the hospital alerted authorities about the case. After a subsequent mental health evaluation on the duo while in custody, authorities found no evidence to suggest they were mentally unfit during the murder.