Mother seen with son before he fell from West Coast flat

Woman held for murder was also sitting on window ledge: Neighbour

MOMENTS before a nine-year-old boy was found at the foot of his block, he and his mother were seen at the kitchen window of their fifth-floor West Coast Road flat.

Gabriel Loh, nine, died in hospital less than an hour after police found him lying unconscious at the bottom of Block 704, where he lived with his 31-year- old mother and his grandmother.

The mother, who was arrested for the suspected murder of her young son last Saturday, was also seen crying at the window.

A neighbour, who lives in the opposite block in West Coast Road, told The Straits Times yesterday about what she saw of the incident.

The 40-year-old accounts assistant had gone to the kitchen to wash her hands at around 6pm when she noticed the woman sitting on the ledge of the fifth-floor window.

She saw the woman go back in, only to return with her bespectacled son.

The boy, who attended a special school, was unconscious when police arrived. He was taken to the National University Hospital, where he was pronounced dead just after 7pm. His mother, known only as Rebecca, was arrested later that day by police.

Believed to be an unemployed single mother, she was often seen pushing Gabriel around in a pram.

She would lift him from the pram to the chair and back at a nearby coffee shop, neighbours told The Straits Times.

Gabriel, who was described as having yellow skin and eyes because of jaundice, had a failed liver operation, according to a next-door neighbour who wanted to be known only as Madam Jah.

Rebecca would often appear troubled, walking with her head bowed and looking dazed while outside buying lunch, a report in Chinese evening daily Shin Min stated.

It also said that she had sought help for a mental problem about seven years ago.

She lived in the flat with her mother, who worked in a bakery. The two women, however, were often heard quarrelling and the police were called a few times, Shin Min reported.

Gabriel's grandmother was at the mortuary yesterday morning to identify his body. She was with two others, who appeared to be relatives. They declined to speak to the media.

When The Straits Times visited the block yesterday, members of the West Coast Green Residents' Committee were present to offer help to the family, but no one was in when they knocked on the door.

Chairman Tan Tuang Siang said that the family kept to themselves, and that other residents told him they would not take part in social activities.

Police were also seen making inquiries in the area.