Despite being injured on the noon of October 22, 2016, it was not until in the evening at 8 p.m that the boy was taken to a hospital. It was too late by then.
Trigger Warning: The story has graphic details of child abuse and death that readers may find disturbing.
A couple, from Singapore, Azlin Arujunah, 27, and her husband, Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, were on trial for their son's murder, reports Channel News Aisa. They reportedly poured scalding hot water on their 5-year-old son, causing him to collapse, and he later died at a hospital in 2016.
During a hearing of the case in 2019, the mother tried to take most of the blame for the murder because she wanted "at least one person to get a lighter sentence" so that one of them could be released from prison earlier to “go back and look after the children”.
At the hearing, a burn specialist highlighted the horrific injuries on the victim and the other physical abuses of the child at his parent's hands, as reported by Channel News Asia. The doctor said the boy had "an extensive burn injury covering about 70 percent" of his body before his death.
"This would be considered a clinically ill patient and at high risk of morbidity and mortality even after surgical treatment," said Dr. Gavin Kang Chun-Wui from KK Women's and Children's Hospital. He then went on to reveal that the boy had a blood clot under the child's scalp, lacerations on his left cheek, eyebrow, chin, besides deep burns on his torse and on his genitals, and a fractured nose.
Dr. Chun-Wui also added that the child's "entire palm" was burnt. The boy's father was accused of placing a heated spoon when the boy stole some milk powder, thus causing the injury. The victim also had pinch marks on his thighs and buttocks, which were caused by pliers used on him by both parents. A broom, hanger, and even their bare hands were usually their weapons of choice to beat the child.
The couple even kept the victim in a cage meant for pet cats as a form of punishment.
Usual suspects..— Matt (@Common_Sense_71) November 14, 2019
Azlin Arujunah and Ridzuan Mega Abdul Rahman, both 27, stood trial at Singapore's High Court
Seems to be a global plague.https://t.co/pCDMCQgdDB
Dr. Chun-Wui added the child's wounds "appeared dirty with a lot of black debris" which pointed to the lack of immediate medical attention the child received after he got burned. Despite being injured on the noon of October 22, 2016, it was not until in the evening at 8 p.m that the boy was taken to a hospital. It was too late by then.
"Looking at the condition of the child’s wounds, which were dirty and appeared to not have been cleaned or even brought for emergent medical attention, it appeared to me that the wounds had not been treated for a lengthy period," said Dr. Chun-Wui. The child went into shock during surgery. He suffered lung and kidney dysfunction.
Shockingly it was revealed in court that Azlin also had scalding hot water poured on her when she was a child. Her defense then argued that Arujunah was also in an abusive marriage.
Dr. Jacob Rajesh, a psychiatrist brought by the defense told the court, "Physical abuse as a child is definitely a traumatic event. When children are physically abused when they grow up, they can also abuse their own offspring as well," adding that this traumatic episode in Arujunah's life was "probably a factor" in her choice of punishment for her own children. It was also revealed that her husband was physically abusive as well.
However, on July 13, 2020, it was reported by Today that the couple were both sentenced to 27 years’ jail each. While the husband was given the maximum of 24 strokes of the cane, the wife got an additional year as women can't be caned according to local law. The couple could have faced life imprisonment or the death penalty if convicted of murder.
Cover Image Source (Representative): Getty Images | Alexandra Pavlova