Kicked, choked, shoved, stepped on: 4-year-old boy dies after punishment by mum

The four-year-old was asked by his mother to recite the numbers 11 to 18 in both English and Malay.

Little Mohammad Airyl Amirul Haziq kept reciting the numbers over and over.

But he had trouble reciting them in Malay and nearly every time he got it wrong, his mother Noraidah Mohd Yussof punished him.

She pushed and choked him, stepped on his knees, and even lifted him off the ground by his neck and pressed him against a wall.

That last action on the evening of Aug 1, 2014, left the little boy gasping for air. He eventually passed out.

Four days later, Airyl died in hospital of head injuries.

Yesterday, Noraidah, 34, pleaded guilty to two counts of voluntarily causing grievous hurt and two more for ill-treatment of a child.

However, a Newton hearing has now been scheduled over a disagreement on the findings of two psychiatrists.

Court documents showed that on Aug 1, 2014, just after lunch, Noraidah asked Airyl to recite the numbers 11 to 18 in English and later in Malay.

Nearly every time the little boy stumbled while reciting the numbers in Malay, the divorcee punished him.

She pushed her son on the chest twice, causing him to fall and hit his head on the floor of the family's Eunos Crescent flat. She also stepped on his knees three to four times.

Despite the abuse, the boy got up and continued to recite the numbers, even while his mother was in the shower.

When she finished showering, she went to her room to change.

SHOWER

Airyl was supposed to have taken a shower and be ready to follow Noraidah to pick up his seven-year-old sister from school.

When Noraidah later heard her son slamming the toilet bowl seat cover, she questioned him. He did not answer and continued to mumble the numbers.

Frustrated, she choked Airyl and pushed him to the floor. The little boy was shocked.

At around 6.10pm, when she found that her son was still mumbling the numbers and not ready to leave the flat, she became angry again and pushed his neck against a wall and lifted him off the floor with her right hand.

Seeing him gasping for air, she released her grip and he fell to the floor.

He became unresponsive and went limp.

Noraidah called her sister-in-law to come over. She also asked a neighbour for help.

Inside the flat, the neighbour noticed bruises on Airyl's chest.

Noraidah told her that Airyl had fallen and hit his head on the toilet floor.

An autopsy later revealed more than 30 injuries to his body, some of which were the result of previous abuses.

Noraidah admitted to pushing Airyl and causing him to fall backwards and hit his head against a TV console on July 30, 2014.

That same night, she had kicked him in the waist for defecating on the flat's floor. She later stepped on his stomach with both her feet.

She also admitted to punishing Airyl in March 2012 for not listening to her when she was trying to teach him and for scribbling on the sofa. He suffered fractures to his left elbow, left calf and his right ribs.

Airyl's death was attributed to bleeding in the head, bruising of the scalp and a skull fracture.

If found guilty, Noraidah can be jailed up to 10 years, fined or caned for voluntarily causing grievous hurt. For ill-treating a child, she can be fined a maximum of $4,000 or jailed up to four years, or both.

Experts, witnesses to testify

Court proceedings into Noraidah Mohd Yussof's case took a turn yesterday as Justice Lee Seiu Kin ordered a Newton hearing.

The basis of the hearing revolves around the "impasse" between opposing views of two psychiatrists for the case.

Defence lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said his psychiatrist was of the view that Noraidah was suffering from Asperger syndrome and depression.

Deputy Public Prosecutor April Phang disagreed. She said that while there may be some convergence in the psychiatrists' views, there were disparities.

The prosecution did not believe Noraidah was suffering from the conditions cited by the defence.

In the hearing, both psychiatrists are expected to give evidence and be cross-examined. Other witnesses will also be called up.

What boy's mother did

Aug 1, 2014

Noraidah Mohd Yussof, 34, assaulted her son, Mohammad Airyl Amirul Haziq Mohamed Ariff, four, when he could not recite a number sequence in Malay.

She pushed him a few times, causing him to fall and hit his head on the floor. She then stepped on Airyl's knees and choked him until he was lifted off the ground.

July 30, 2014

Noraidah pushed Airyl between the shoulders and chest area, causing him to fall backwards and hit the back of his head against a table.

On the same night, she kicked Airyl's waist area. After the boy fell, she stepped on his stomach with both her feet for a few seconds.

March 2012

Noraidah stepped on Airyl's ribs after he fell. She also twisted and pulled his hand.

zaihan@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on March 29, 2016.
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