TAIPEI - A 33-year-old man was arrested in Taiwan on Monday (March 28) for allegedly chopping off the head of a four-year-old girl, reports said.
The suspect, who reportedly has a history of mental illness, attacked the young girl at a Taipei suburb on Monday at about 11am, Focus Taiwan said. The attack happened right in front of her mother.
Her grieving mother, Ms Claire Wang, told Apple Daily that she was about one metre away from her daughter, but could not stop the killer.
The girl was going upslope on a strider bike when the suspect approached her from behind. She and her mother were on their way to a train station to meet her grandfather and her younger siblings.
Thinking that the suspect was trying to help push her daughter up the slope, Ms Wang did not attempt to stop him.
Instead, he pulled out a chopper and brought it down on the little girl's neck, the newspaper said.
When she realised what was happening, Ms Wang tried to hold the killer back, but was not strong enough to stop him. Passers-by then helped to subdue the attacker, but by then, he had decapitated the victim.
A blood-stained chopper was found near the crime scene, said Focus Taiwan.
"I could not believe it. How can something so cruel happen?" the girl's grandmother sobbed as she told TVBS in Mandarin.
The victim, nicknamed Little Light Bulb, is the second of four children in her family. Her father works in the IT industry, and her mother is a housewife. She has a nine-year-old sister and a younger brother and sister who are two-year-old twins.
A photo of the suspect, his face splattered with blood as he was brought in by the police, was published by Taiwanese media.
The suspect, surnamed Wang, is said to be unemployed and has a history of mental illness and drug offences.
The case has shocked Taiwan.
President Ma Ying-jeou said: "Today, I heard about the four-year-old girl's Little Light Bulb's misfortune. All of us feel shock and pain. The child is so adorable, and the killer so cruel; I have ordered a full investigation. Justice must be served."
President-elect Tsai Ing-wen also issued a statement expressing her sorrow, and promising help to the family. The Government has a duty to strengthen public order, to prevent such crimes from happening again, she said.