A 29-year-old Singaporean woman was sentenced to five years in jail on 5 May after she pleaded guilty to causing hurt to her son by using poison.
According to The Straits Times, the woman was raped by her own brother when she was a child, and the trauma had caused her to hurt her seven-year-old son because he resembled her attacker.
The woman, knowing that a high dosage of insulin would cause a person’s blood sugar to crash and even possibly kill the person, injected the boy with insulin on at least 13 occasions between January and July 2019.
As a result, the boy’s blood sugar fell and he suffered headaches, but he managed to survive in the end.
Sexually abused when she was a child
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh, the woman was living with her parents and three brothers when she was sexually abused. She was aged between nine and 12 at the time.
When her attacker was 13 years old, his offences surfaced and he was sentenced to two years in a boys’ home.
At this point in her life, the woman was not on good terms with her parents as she felt her mother had taken her brother’s side, and claimed that her father had also sexually abused her.
In 2017, her mother moved in with her when her father passed away.
Planned to kill everyone before taking her own life
In 2018, her brother, who was her attacker, got married and learnt that he was about to become a father.
Hearing about this triggered the woman and she felt unhappy that her attacker had moved on with his life. She said that he did not deserve to be happy.
As a result, she planned to kill her three children – one son and two daughters – her mother, and her attacker, before taking her own life in 2019.
Her plan was to burn everyone alive, however, she wanted to spare her favourite son by giving him a “peaceful” death with less pain, reported CNA. This was when she travelled to Johor Bharu and bought insulin pens and needles from a pharmacy before teaching herself how to use them by watching YouTube videos.
The woman then gave her son the jabs, after which he suffered severe headaches, numbness in his fingers, nausea and photosensitivity.
The boy was then admitted to the National University Hospital (NUH) where he was diagnosed with hyperinsulinism – which is described as an above-normal level of insulin in the blood of a person. This condition called insulinoma can also occur from insulin administration or from an insulin-secreting tumour in the pancreas.
However, doctors later discovered that the boy did not have insulinoma. He was hospitalised three times, once after suffering a seizure related to low blood sugar levels.
The boy later told a child life therapist that his mother had injected him with “medication” on numerous occasions.
After being confronted by hospital staff, the woman admitted what she had done to the boy and the police were alerted.
Diagnosed with mental disorders
The woman was later diagnosed with several conditions including major depressive disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The DPP cited psychiatric reports, saying that there was a “substantial contributory link between her mental disorders and her offending behaviour”.
However, the woman was found “not of unsound mind” when she committed the crime as she was aware of how her son would be harmed when injected with insulin.
“IMH (Institute of Mental Health) has informed that since the arrest of the accused, she has been receiving psychiatric treatment as well as counselling in prison,” DPP Singh said.
“While her psychiatric condition has improved and her risk of re-offending has reduced from moderate to low, her road to recovery is long.”
Meanwhile, the boy is reported to have had repetitive thoughts and bad dreams of the matter and expressed worries of further harm. He also showed some symptoms of PTSD.
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