Death of 2-year-old boy: Mum, boyfriend convicted of child abuse

Cleaners Zaidah, 41, and her boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46, were convicted of three charges of child abuse and one count each of causing grievous hurt.
Cleaners Zaidah, 41, and her boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46, were convicted of three charges of child abuse and one count each of causing grievous hurt.PHOTO: ST GRAPHICS

A two-year-old boy was kicked and slapped almost daily by his pregnant mother and her boyfriend in a five-week campaign of torture that ended in his death.

Cleaners Zaidah, 41, and her boyfriend, Zaini Jamari, 46, also made Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser stand with his hands on his head wearing only a nappy, forced him to eat spoonfuls of dried chilli and stamped on his chest.

Each of them were yesterday convicted of three charges of child abuse and one count each of causing grievous hurt. But they showed little remorse, even when shown photos of his 41 injuries.

Zaidah, who has five other children, admitted to 26 other charges of abusing him and Zaini, 18 other counts, though they did not say why they committed the acts.

These charges will be considered when the couple are sentenced by Principal District Judge Bala Reddy next month.

  • Toddler's injuries filled up more than 3 pages

  • An autopsy found 41 external injuries on Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser.

    The list of injuries took up more than three pages of court documents. They included:

    •Bruise over right forehead

    •Abrasion on nose

    •Bruise on left lower eyelid

    •Red bruise on left chest

    •Cluster of multiple red, green and brown bruises on left and right upper abdomen

    •Six groups of ovoid red bruises over right upper chest

    •Faint red bruise on the left upper arm

    •Red bruises on left elbow

    •Red bruise on right elbow

    •Brown bruise on right hand

    •Red bruise on right upper thigh

    •Brown bruise on right knee

    •Red bruise on right foot

    •Faint red bruise on left upper thigh

    •Faint red bruise on left mid-thigh

    •Faint red bruise on left upper thigh

    •Red bruise on left knee

    •Red bruise on left foot

The prosecution is asking for at least nine years' jail for each, with nine to 12 strokes of the cane for Zaini, and nine to 12 months' jail in lieu of caning for Zaidah.

Last October, the couple moved into a one-room HDB flat in Telok Blangah Crescent with Daniel and their one-year-old daughter. Daniel's father was in prison when he was born and Zaidah lost touch with him. The unit owner - a 50-year-old friend of Zaidah - and her 15-year-old niece lived with them.

Zaidah, whose eldest child is 20, conceived her sixth child in March last year and stopped work around September.

Between Oct 18 and Nov 22, Daniel was kicked and slapped by Zaidah every day but for two, the court heard. Zaini often joined in.

On Oct 21, Daniel was made to stand beside a fan as punishment. When he grew sleepy and could not stand straight, Zaidah slapped him in the face several times and said in Malay: "When it's night, you do not want to sleep, when it's morning, you want to sleep."

When Daniel fell, Zaidah kicked him in the stomach, then pulled the boy up by his hand and made him stand in the kitchen.

On Nov 9, while Daniel was standing with his hands on his head, Zaini kicked him hard in the back, causing him to fall, then kicked him hard in his ribs.

On Nov 15, Daniel received similar beatings.

Three days later, Zaidah hit Daniel in the face and chest many times with such force that his mouth bled and he fell.

The day before he died, Zaidah tried to feed Daniel breakfast but he refused to eat so she slapped him in the face three times. The couple then slapped him repeatedly. When he fell, Zaidah stamped on his chest with her leg before she pulled him up by his arm.

Later that evening, Daniel was made to stand as punishment. Tired, he rested his hand on a bed frame but was again slapped by the couple.

As Daniel lay on the floor with his eyes closed, Zaini force-fed him two spoonfuls of dried chilli. Zaini then took him to the toilet, washed his mouth and made the boy stand in the living room.

Shortly after, Daniel appeared faint but the couple launched another assault, slapping him and kicking him in the chest and stomach. This time, Daniel's head hit the ground. Zaidah passed Zaini dried chilli and he forced it down the boy's throat until mucus came out of his nose.

Zaini then took Daniel to the toilet and washed his face before ordering him to sleep.

Around 8am the next day, Nov 23, the couple could not wake Daniel. Paramedics found no electrical activity in his heart.

Asked about Daniel's bruises, Zaidah said he had a habit of pinching himself.

After the boy was pronounced dead in hospital, the couple were questioned by police - but lied that he had a fall in the toilet.

They then went home to watch television, highlighted Deputy Public Prosecutor Claire Poh, who later spoke about the couple's "cool indifference" to the boy's suffering.

Daniel's cause of death was certified to be a head injury. Sentencing is scheduled for July 5.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 24, 2016, with the headline 'Boy's death: Mum, boyfriend convicted of child abuse'. Print Edition | Subscribe