Chinese mum gives son, 4, petrol to drink, sets him on fire

CHINA - A four-year-old boy has died, three days after he was severely burned.

His mother, who was in a quarrel with his father, had given him petrol to drink.

After taking one sip, the boy refused to drink it. His father tried to intervene and Ms Shen Dan, 40, dragged the boy towards a naked flame on the gas stove, spilling petrol over all three of them - and they all caught fire.

The incident happened in Jinhua city in east China's Zhejiang Province, Shanghai Daily reported.

Mr Zhang Qiusheng, 48, said his wife had threatened to kill their son, Zhang Zhihao, and then commit suicide.

After she returned from work late last week, she gave Zhihao a drink from a soft drink bottle, and the drink turned out to be petrol.

The boy sustained burns over 35 per cent of his body and was taken off life support on Sunday afternoon.

Doctors determined that the boy would be an amputee and will have no sense of sight, taste, smell or hearing, though he might survive the third-degree burns suffered.

Mr Zhang was faced with the choice of either letting his son die in peace or live in pain - and he made the difficult decision to disconnect life support, the local Jinhua Evening News reported.

"When dad made the decision, he burst out in tears. He rarely cries," said his daughter Miss Zhang Mengting, 20.

Mr Zhang and Ms Shen suffered 15 per cent burns.

Since she is still unable to speak, local police have not questioned her, according to the local City Express newspaper.

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