Jail, caning for drug abuser who fractured baby girl's skull

A former teen terror, whose substance abuse history goes back to when he was 13, shoved his baby daughter's head against a wall because she would not stop crying.

The force was so great, he ended up fracturing the 10-month-old girl's skull on Aug 9 last year.

Yesterday, the 23-year-old jobless man was sentenced to four years' jail and eight strokes of the cane after pleading guilty on Sept 29 to one count each of ill-treating and causing grievous hurt to the girl. Two other counts of ill-treating the child were considered.

He cannot be named owing to a gag order.

In sentencing him, District Judge Lim Keng Yeow said: "A stern warning must be issued and society must have low tolerance for such offences. Perpetrators should not expect to receive leniency."

The man is currently behind bars in a drug rehabilitation centre after he was sent there in September last year for substance abuse.

Court documents show his history of substance abuse goes back to 2007, when he was 13. That same year, he was sentenced to two years in a juvenile home for theft of a motor vehicle and other crimes.

At 15, he was given probation for substance abuse but was sentenced to the Reformative Training Centre the next year for robbery with hurt. He was then jailed for nine months in 2014 for substance abuse and being in possession of drug utensils.

But he relapsed after his release. On the day he abused his daughter, the man was furious because he had no money to buy drugs.

When his daughter started crying and he could not pacify her, he shoved her head against the wall. The next day, he bit her left forearm and ears, among other places.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sheryl Yeo said he had a habit of biting the girl. She added: "The victim also could not rely on her mother for help as her mother lived in fear of the accused. The abuse against the victim was reported to the authorities only when some superficial injuries were discovered by the victim's relative."

The baby's grandfather had alerted the police on Aug 13 last year. Police took the baby to the National University Hospital, where she was found to be suffering from injuries including a fractured skull and multiple cuts to her face, torso and limbs. She was hospitalised until Aug 15 last year.

For causing grievous hurt to the baby, the man could have been jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 03, 2017, with the headline 'Jail, caning for drug abuser who fractured baby girl's skull'. Print Edition | Subscribe