Boy, 15, sentenced to detention after stabbing his father with a fruit knife, killing him
SINGAPORE: A 15-year-old boy admitted on Monday January 24 to killing his father after stabbing him in the neck with a fruit knife in December 2020.
The boy was sentenced to five years in prison after pleading guilty to a charge of intentional homicide. Under the Children and Young Persons Act, the boy and his family members cannot be named.
The court heard the boy was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder as a toddler and enrolled in a special school in Primary 1. He was transferred to a mainstream school shortly after , as it was deemed “good enough”. according to court documents.
In 2018, he was diagnosed with internet gaming disorder after being referred to the Mental Health Institute’s National Addiction Management Service over concerns about the amount of time he was spending on computer games.
The court heard the teenager had a “largely cordial” relationship with his brother and mother, but had a “difficult relationship” with his father, who he believed to be “very controlling”.
The victim “closely watched” his son, limited the teenager’s access to his mobile phone and computer games, and also set regular chores and missions. These included laundry chores, homework and writing assessment books, the court heard.
When the teenager sometimes did not comply with his father’s instructions, the latter would hit him and curse him.
He suffered no physical injuries, but started thinking about killing his father in June 2020, when his father banned him from playing computer games for a month.
STABED HIS FATHER IN THE NECK
On December 11, 2020, the teenager and his younger brother were alone at home with their father. Their mother had gone to work.
The teenager’s father was doing laundry and got agitated when he couldn’t find the detergent scoop, and he asked the teenager if he had hidden it. The boy denied doing it.
Despite being angry at being questioned, the teenager helped with the laundry by scooping up the detergent with his hands, the court heard.
After the encounter, the teenager began to think about killing his father “so that he would be freed from the deceased”, the court heard.
He went into the kitchen and tried to hide a knife in his pocket, but found it was too big and difficult to hide. He took a fruit knife instead – with a blade measuring about 9.5cm – and hid it in his pocket, heading back to his room.
When he heard his father asking his younger brother to wash some clothes, he left his room and went to the kitchen and saw them both doing laundry.
The teenager became “even angrier” when he heard his father telling his younger brother that the teenager had thrown away the scoop of detergent, the court heard.
“He was aggrieved that he had been falsely accused of something he had not done,” the court heard.
The victim saw the teenager in the kitchen and again blamed him for the missing spoon of detergent, according to court documents. The boy denied throwing the spoon and returned to his room.
In his bedroom, the teenager thought about how his father was too strict and limited his free time.
At around 10.10am, the teenager returned to the kitchen where he saw his father crouching in the laundry room next to his brother.
He then stabbed his father once in the left side of the neck “with intent to cause the death of the deceased”, according to court documents. The teenager put the knife in the kitchen sink and ran to his bedroom.
His father managed to walk into the living room and sat down in a chair, while his younger son called an ambulance and called his mother.
The teenager came out of his room and ‘apologized profusely’ to his father and younger brother, and helped his brother stop the bleeding by applying pressure to his father’s neck wound with a towel .
However, her father fell unconscious and collapsed on the ground. Paramedics and police arrived at 10:21 a.m. and attempted to resuscitate the man, but were unsuccessful.
He was taken to Changi General Hospital and pronounced dead around 11 a.m.
The teenager admitted to police at the apartment that he had stabbed his father and he was arrested around 12:10 p.m.
ADOLESCENT MENTAL STATE ASSESSMENT
Dr Ong Say How from the Institute of Mental Health conducted an assessment of the teenager’s mental state after his arrest.
According to court documents, the boy was diagnosed with autism spectrum disorder and is considered highly functional as he was able to complete his primary education in a mainstream school. He was also found to have obsessive-compulsive traits.
Dr Ong said the teenager’s autism spectrum disorder and obsessive-compulsive traits had no ‘causal or contributory connection to the offence’, and that he had ‘sufficient maturity’ to understand and judge the nature and consequences of his conduct during the commission of the offence. .
He also assessed the teenager’s risk of violent recidivism as “low”.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Lim Shin Hui requested that the teenager be detained for five to seven years. She said authorities intended to let the teenager, who turns 16 in February, continue to stay at the boys’ home. He is on track to pass his O-Levels this year.
If he takes the next step in his education, he will be transferred to a prison where he will have access to facilities, including the necessary tutoring, she added.
Mr Shashi Nathan, who was representing the teenager, asked that he be detained for three to five years. The teenager has responded and adjusted well to the boys’ home, he said.
He added that the teenager’s mother and brother visit him once a week and the siblings now have a close bond.
Describing him as a “clever young boy”, Mr Nathan said the teenager will be able to contribute to society in the future. He said that while the boy had gone into the game to escape into fantasy, reality had struck.
“Reality is a constant daily reminder that he destroyed his family. He has to live with the guilt of losing his father for the rest of his life,” he said.
Judge Aedit Abdullah told the teenager he hopes he reflects on what happened and added that although the next few years will be “difficult” there will be support for him.
He added that he hopes the teenager will come out and contribute to his family and society.