Death of abused 2-year-old boy: Mother, boyfriend jailed 11 and 10 years respectively

The New Paper

SINGAPORE - He was kicked in the stomach, slapped across his face, and even forced to swallow chilli.

That was the daily abuse suffered by two-year-old Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser at the hands of his mother and her live-in boyfriend for the final month of his life, before he died in his sleep on Nov 23 last year after suffering a fatal blow to his head.

For their part in his death, the 41-year-old mother, who is only known as Zaidah, was sentenced to 11 years' jail. Her boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46, was sentenced to 10 years' jail and 12 strokes of the cane.

The pair, both cleaners, had previously pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Daniel, and three counts of ill-treating him.

Their sentences will take effect from the date of their remand on Nov 26 last year.

According to previous reports, Daniel was repeatedly abused between Oct 18 and Nov 22 last year at his home, a one-room rental flat at Block 19, Telok Blangah Crescent.

More than 40 external injuries were found on the boy's body during an autopsy, The Straits Times reported.

During the sentencing, Principal District Judge Bala Reddy described the pair's actions as "senseless brutality", and that it was "incomprehensible" that a mother could cause such hurt to a child she had carried for nine months.

Medical reports also revealed that both Zaidah and Zaini did not suffer from any psychiatric conditions, Lianhe Wanbao reported.

Zaidah and Zaini kept their heads bowed throughout the proceedings, and remained emotionless when the sentence was read.

Read also: Boy killed by mum, boyfriend: I never got to see him alive, says father

Also present in court today was Daniel's caretaker, Madam Masita Hussin, and his biological father, Mr Mohamad Nasser Abdul Gani.

According to Lianhe Wanbao, Madam Masita brought along a pair of shoes that used to belong to Daniel, explaining that the shoes represented Daniel so that he would be able to "know" the fate of his two tormentors.

She told reporters outside the courtroom that she used to take care of Daniel on weekdays, while he would return to his mother's house only on weekends. The arrangement came to an end after National Day last year, when Zaidah said that she would take care of the boy herself.

Lianhe Wanbao reported that Madam Masita said she had noticed bruises and slap marks on the boy's face and body numerous times. However, she never realised he was being abused as Zaidah would tell her that the injuries were sustained when Daniel fell down or while he was playing with his friends.

In tears, she said: "I blame myself for not realising that he was being abused sooner."

Meanwhile, Daniel's father, Mr Nasser, who turned 42 today, said that he was not satisfied with the sentences.

"The only time I held him was when I was about to bury him," Lianhe Wanbao quoted him as saying.

He said that even though Daniel's abusers had been jailed, they would one day be free again, whereas nothing would ever bring back his son.

Mr Nasser never got to see his son alive as he was serving 18 months in jail for drug-related offences when Daniel was born. After he was released, he found that his ex-wife Zaidah had moved and spent a year searching for his son's whereabouts, but his attempts were in vain.

Read also: Toddler who died after being abused: Nobody heard him

seanyap@sph.com.sg