Mum admits allowing man to abuse her baby

She persistently put vulnerable infant at mercy of his tormentor, then denied abuse, court hears

A 25-year-old woman pleaded guilty yesterday to two charges of allowing her boyfriend to abuse her son who was about a year old then.

On one occasion, the infant suffered a broken skull after Tan pushed him off the bed.

The baby survived the March 25 ordeal last year, but needed emergency surgery for bleeding in his brain. Now aged three, he is in foster care and undergoing rehabilitative therapy.

The woman, a part-time sales assistant, cannot be named to protect the boy's identity.

The baby's tormentor, Franklie Tan Guang Wei, 26, was sentenced last Monday to 6½ years in jail and six strokes of the cane. He had pleaded guilty to one charge of causing grievous hurt and three out of four charges of ill-treating a child.

The abuser, Franklie Tan, was sentenced to 6½ years in jail and six strokes of the cane. He had struck the child on several occasions and scalded him. ST FILE PHOTO

Assistant Public Prosecutor (APP) Dillon Kok said: "Perhaps misguided by her love for Franklie, the (mother) selfishly chose her relationship over the well-being of her own child, exposing him to the horrors of abuse resulting in tragic consequences.

"Her act of condoning such abuse to the extent of persistently placing the victim within the grasp of his tormentor is particularly reprehensible.

"When (the mother) was questioned, she denied that (he) had been abused and claimed that there were 'spirits' in the flat."

The abuse of the child started when the mother moved in with Tan and his mother in November 2014. She did this when she became pregnant with Tan's child.

The court heard that on Nov 8, when the baby's cries woke the couple, Tan slapped the child, leaving finger marks on his cheek and bruising near his ear.

Three days after the incident, a nanny took photos of the bruises and swelling and made a police report. The Child Protective Service (CPS) was informed.

The child was put under the nanny's care by the CPS and the mother and Tan were allowed only weekly supervised access. In February last year, Tan's grandparents took over caring for the child, with the couple still granted supervised access only.

On March 8 last year, Tan's grandfather left the infant at Tan's flat. That night, frustrated with his cries, Tan threw the baby at his mother, who was about 2m away. The infant landed on her.

Later, however, Tan and the mother were allowed to spend nights with the child.

On March 25, Tan hit the child when he became angry with the baby's cries. The blow gave the child a bruise.

The child was left alone with Tan when the mother left for work. When the baby threw up on the bed, Tan pushed him off.

The infant landed face-up on the floor about 2m away and threw up again. Tan then took the child for a shower, but failed to check the water temperature. The water scalded the child's upper back.

Later, Tan noticed the baby was in a daze, semi-conscious and vomiting repeatedly. When the mother got home and found the infant weak, she took him to hospital.

The prosecution is seeking one year's jail for the mother. However, her lawyer A. Revi Shanker will argue for a more lenient sentence before District Judge Adam Nakhoda on Oct 27. For permitting a child to be ill-treated, she faces a $4,000 fine and four years' jail per charge.

Tan, currently in prison, has filed an appeal against his sentence.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 27, 2016, with the headline 'Mum admits allowing man to abuse her baby'. Print Edition | Subscribe