Belgian pleads guilty to killing 5-year-old son in D'Leedon condominium

Belgian expatriate Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart seen arriving at the State Courts in October 2015. He pleaded guilty on August 1 having admitted to causing the death of his five-year-old son last October. PHOTO: ST FILE

SINGAPORE - Facing mounting pressure in a battle with his French wife over custody of their young son, a Belgian expatriate suffocated the five-year-old by pressing a cushion over the boy's head.

As Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart cradled the motionless body in his arms, he told his son Keryan that he loved him and was going to join him.

The 42-year-old left his Leedon Heights apartment and sped along the Marina Coastal Expressway (MCE) before deliberately crashing his car into the wall of the tunnel.

He was rescued and taken to the Singapore General Hospital with minor injuries, but left the hospital on his own and contemplated other means of suicide before he decided to head to a police station.

Details surrounding the killing of five-year-old Keryan Gabriel Cedric Graffart last October emerged in the High Court on Monday (Aug 1), when Graffart pleaded guilty to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and admitted causing the death of the boy at his 32nd-storey apartment on Oct 5 last year between 9pm and 10.17pm.

The court heard that after his failed suicide attempt, Graffart turned up at Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre at about 4.30am on Oct 6.

An officer on duty noticed Graffart looking disoriented, with cuts and scrapes on his forearms, the needle of an intravenous drip attached to his right hand, and a hospital identification tag on his left wrist.

When questioned, Graffart revealed that he had tried to kill himself. He then told the officer: "I have done something really bad to my son."

When police officers went to his apartment, they found Keryan's body on the bed in the master bedroom. The boy was pronounced dead by paramedics at 6.17am.

An autopsy found bruises and abrasions on the boy's head but could not ascertain the cause of death. Zolpidem, a medication used to treat insomnia not recommended for use in children, was found in the boy's blood.

Graffart, who was the head of fund distribution for the Asia Pacific region with Nordea Bank, was initially charged with murder.

The charge was later amended to the lesser offence of culpable homicide as he was assessed to be suffering from major depressive disorder, which substantially impaired his judgment. He will be sentenced on Aug 22. He faces a maximum of 10 years' jail, with caning and a fine.

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