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Man on trial for murdering five-year-old daughter, allegedly confined her in toilet for months

CNA – A man is accused of murdering his five-year-old daughter after months of ill-treating her by keeping her in a toilet with her younger brother, in what the prosecution called “squalid conditions”.

The 43-year-old man cannot be named due to gag orders protecting the victim’s identity and her surviving brother, who might be a witness for other charges the man faces.

The accused went on trial yesterday for the charge of murder under Section 300(c), which is punishable by death or life imprisonment with caning.

He faces another 25 charges for offences including ill-treating his daughter and son by confining them in a toilet for about 10 months and punching his son when he was two years old, but these charges have been stood down temporarily while he is tried for murder.

According to the prosecution’s opening address, the deceased girl and her brother are the children of the accused from his first marriage.

After his divorce, the man married for a second time. His new wife had a daughter of her own from a previous marriage.

In 2014, the man’s two biological children were placed in foster care by the Child Protective Service.

The Supreme Court in Singapore. PHOTO: CNA

However, the kids were returned to the accused’s custody sometime in 2015 and lived in a rented one-room flat with the accused and his new wife.

At the time of the offences, the accused’s new wife had borne him another daughter, so the man’s two biological children had two stepsiblings. In 2015, he began assaulting the girl and her brother, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Han Ming Kuang.

In the months leading up to her death, the girl and her brother lived in squalid living conditions, first confined in a corner of the flat near a window where they spent most of the day.

They were later shifted to the toilet, where they were confined “practically naked”, said Han.

“Their nights were spent sleeping in the toilet. In the day, they were let out for meals, or when the accused or the accused’s wife needed to use the toilet.”

The couple installed a closed-circuit television camera capturing the view of the toilet so they could monitor the girl and her brother.

On the night of August 10, 2017, the accused’s wife tried to get her stepdaughter to exercise, but she refused.

The accused decided to “handle the situation” and went to the toilet, where he physically assaulted her on her head and face between 9pm on August 10, 2017 and the early morning of August 11, 2017, alleged Han.

At around 7pm on Aug 11, 2017, the accused realised that his daughter had died, said the prosecution.

The prosecution team said the accused took his daughter’s lifeless body to Singapore General Hospital more than 15 hours after discovering her death.

In the meantime, he allegedly packed and threw away items linked to her death, including a camera that covered the toilet area, a phone, scissors, a cane, a rubber hose, bath towels and child safety gates.

He also cleaned up the flat, washed the dead girl, dressed her and placed her in a pram. He allegedly arranged with his wife to tell the police that his two kids had not been in the flat, but were instead at his mother’s flat.

He finally took his daughter’s body to Singapore General Hospital on the morning of August 12, 2017.

“She was severely malnourished and covered head to toe in bruises, abrasions, wounds and scars,” said Han.

The girl was in cardiac arrest, with no spontaneous breathing or pulse.

Resuscitation efforts were futile. An autopsy found that she had died of a head injury that was sufficient to cause death and that was likely a result of blunt force trauma from multiple blows.