Teen falls five floors after being locked in by father

An 18-year-old who was locked in by his father scaled the balcony at the window and fell five floors while trying to leave the unit, a coroner's court heard on Monday.

Ong Wen Bin was found conscious but in pain at the foot of Block 955 Hougang Avenue 9 on June 7 this year. He died about four hours later from extensive lung and pelvic injuries during surgery at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital.

At an inquest into his death, the court heard that the unemployed youth, who was born slow in learning and lived with his mother, would visit his father four to five times a week at his uncle's flat in Hougang. His parents had been living apart since 2010.

Four days before June 7, his father, Mr Ong Tan Chye, 68, had rebuked him for having stolen $700 from his bedroom. The money was returned. On June 7, Wen Bin was with his father at the Hougang flat when he wanted to leave but his father would not allow him until his mother came to take him home.

The senior Mr Ong claimed that he did not allow his son to leave because he wanted to punish him for stealing his money a few days earlier. He denied ever threatening to kill or beat his son to death.

Mr Ong went to the toilet. When he came out, he saw Wen Bin standing on a coffee table next to the balcony window. Asked what he was doing, Wen Bin ignored his father. He then leapt out of the window. Mr Ong rushed to the ground floor and found his son lying beside the drain and tried to wake him up.

The court heard that at 1.22pm Wen Bin sent a text message to his uncle asking for help as his father had locked him in. When the uncle asked what help he needed, Wen Bin did not respond.

About 15 minutes later he called his mother and told her that his father had refused to let him leave and claimed his father wanted to "beat and kill him''. She did not take him seriously but decided to go to the flat to check.

In his findings, State Coroner Imran Abdul Hamid said when it appeared that help did not seem expeditiously forthcoming, the deceased took his backpack and tried to leave the unit. There was no evidence of foul play implicating the father nor any evidence that the deceased had suicidal ideas before he fell, he said.