Jail for man who fatally abused stepdaughter, 11, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Jail for man who fatally abused stepdaughter, 11

An abusive stepfather who repeatedly hit an 11-year-old girl with an exercise bar for eating slowly, causing her to die four days later from head injuries, has been sentenced to 15 years 11 months’ jail.

Mohamad Fazli Selamat, now 29, was also sentenced to 12 strokes of the cane.

The girl’s mother, who did not intervene in the fatal assault in November 2020, was sentenced to a jail term of seven years eight months and three weeks.

She had helped cover up past incidents of abuse, and abused the child a few times as well.

Roslinda Jamil, now 30, is the first person to be convicted for allowing the death of a child in the same household, an offence introduced in 2020 to target those who fail to protect victims from abuse.

She and Fazli had pleaded guilty to their respective offences in February 2023.

High Court judge Pang Khang Chau on Feb 15 also granted the prosecution’s request to lift a gag order on the names of the couple after sentence was passed.

In his application, Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan said the gag order had initially been imposed in the event that the victim’s three younger half-siblings have to testify as witnesses in the case.

With the conclusion of the case, this consideration no longer applies, said the prosecutor.

The Children and Young Persons Act prohibits the publication of information that can lead to the identification of witnesses in court proceedings who are below the age of 18.

The couple, who married in April 2020, have a four-year-old son together and two other sons from the woman’s first marriage.

The victim was born out of wedlock when Roslinda was 16.

Roslinda’s former husband has care and control of their two sons, while her son with Fazli has been placed in foster care by the authorities.

Fazli had pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide for the fatal assault, which occurred on Nov 6, 2020, and five charges for other acts of abuse he carried out on the girl between March and November 2020.

Roslinda pleaded guilty to a charge of failing to take reasonable steps to protect the girl from the fatal assault, and two charges for acts of abuse that occurred in October 2020 and on Nov 9, 2020.

In early 2020, Fazli, an auxiliary police officer, became upset with the victim because he believed that she had been stealing items in their flat. He was also angry at her for eating too slowly.

In February and March 2020, he told her to hold a 1.5-litre water bottle at shoulder level, before caning her. He hit her with a belt as well.

His family members, who saw her bruises, scolded him for abusing the girl. They also chided Roslinda for not stopping him.

But the abuse continued. Fazli hit the girl with a wooden backscratcher, made her eat chilli padi until she vomited, and beat her with the exercise bar.

Between August 26 and October 28, 2020, the girl did not attend school as Fazli and Roslinda were worried the injuries would be discovered.

On Sept 29, 2020, two representatives from the school visited the flat, but the couple did not let them in.

On Oct 15, 2020, an officer from the Child Protective Service under the Ministry of Social and Family Development insisted on a video-call with the girl.

The officer did not observe any injury on the girl, who was wearing long-sleeved pyjamas and made to sit at a spot with dim lighting.

On Nov 6, 2020, Fazli swung the exercise bar at the girl’s head several times, inflicting blows which led to her death four days later. Roslinda did not intervene.

Despite signs of internal bleeding, the couple decided against taking the girl to the hospital, and called for an ambulance only on Nov 10.

At the hospital, the couple told doctors that she had fallen from the stairs. They later admitted to the police that they had assaulted the girl.