Woman whose daughter’s burnt remains were found in a pot, jailed 14 years, Latest Singapore News - The New Paper

Woman whose daughter’s burnt remains were found in a pot, jailed 14 years

When their daughter died, instead of arranging a funeral to give her a proper send-off, her parents burnt her body, preventing others from knowing about her death for 5½ years.

On Feb 7, the prosecution said an autopsy of the girl showed that her body was severely charred, with her skin completely removed. Her hands and feet could not be identified, as her body was at an advanced stage of decomposition.

She was 2½ years old.

The mother, 35, whose identity remains protected by a gag order, pleaded guilty to charges of ill-treating her children and perverting the course of justice.

She was sentenced to 14 years’ jail.

She faced 12 charges, with eight charges being taken into consideration during her sentencing.

They included the woman lying to a Child Protection Service officer from the Ministry of Social and Family Development (MSF) that she had six children when she had seven. She had deliberately omitted her daughter, Umaisyah, whose remains were found in the pot.

Umaisyah’s name was made public after a gag order on it was lifted in September 2023 when her father was sentenced to 21½ years’ jail and 18 strokes of the cane after pleading guilty to a charge of culpable homicide for causing her death in March 2014.

Seeking 14 to 14½ years’ jail for the mother for her crimes, the prosecution said on Feb 7 that this was not a case where the woman was forced by her husband to lie about her daughter’s whereabouts after she had died. Instead, it was a concerted effort to conceal the death and the body.

Deputy Public Prosecutors Wong Woon Kwong, Norine Tan and Phoebe Tan, argued that her children were very young, with the youngest being just two, when they were left alone at their eighth floor unit.

DPP Norine Tan said: “The dangers that they were exposed to should not be understated... That a parent can neglect her other children after the death of one child, leave them to their own devices and expose them to dangers.”

During the father’s sentencing, the court heard he had slapped Umaisyah multiple times and did not provide her medical aid.

He also admitted to three other charges – ill-treating his six-year-old stepson, rioting and consumption of methamphetamine.

The couple married in June 2012 and Umaisyah was one of their children. The woman, now 35, had other children from a previous marriage.

Details such as the names of her parents and the address of the flat, which could lead to the identification of their surviving children, cannot be published.

On Feb 7, prosecutors said when Umaisyah was about three to four months old in 2011, she was placed in foster care as her father was detained in a drug rehabilitation centre, while his wife was assessed to be unable to take care of the girl.

In June 2013, Umaisyah was returned to the couple’s care and custody, but she often cried as they were unfamiliar to her.

The couple would hit her with a belt and hanger, slap her face and pinch her thigh.

Her mother would also flick her daughter’s fingers and lips with her fingers and, on one occasion, fed her chilli padi to punish her.

In March 2014, the couple were upset with Umaisyah as she was playing with her faeces after soiling her diaper.

When the girl cried, her mother slapped her on the cheek. Her father, who had taken methamphetamine that morning, slapped Umaisyah across the face two to three times.

Umaisyah bled from the mouth, collapsed and gasped for air.

Prosecutors had said the trauma to her head as a result of her father’s assaults caused significant traumatic brain injury, which led to a concussive seizure.

After Umaisyah’s lips turned blue, her mother tried to resuscitate her but failed. The couple did not call for help, as they feared getting arrested. The prosecution said medical intervention could have saved Umaisyah.

To cover their tracks, they placed the girl’s body in a metal pot and burnt the body at the back of her father’s lorry.

They placed the pot in a cardboard box, sealed it and took the box back to the flat.

In the years that followed, when asked by family members about Umaisyah’s whereabouts, the couple either lied she was being cared for by the man’s aunt in Melaka or that she had returned to her foster parents.

The couple’s offences came to light in 2019 when the woman’s younger brother opened the cardboard box and saw a black lump inside the pot that looked decomposed.

He showed the contents to his sister’s friends, and they alerted the police the next day.

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