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Man faces death penalty for killing 4-year-old stepdaughter after she urinates outside toilet bowl

The man admitted to kicking the girl's abdomen while she was on the floor, adding he targeted her stomach because he wanted to "teach her a lesson"

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Singapore – A man became angry at his four-year-old stepdaughter for urinating outside the toilet bowl leading to the child’s murder.

On Tuesday (Feb 2), 28-year-old Muhammad Salihin Ismail went to court for causing fatal injuries to his stepdaughter, Nursabrina Agustiani Abdullah sometime between 9 am on Sept 1, 2018, and the following morning, reported straitstimes.com. The incident is said to have taken place at the family’s rental flat in Bukit Batok.

Mr Salihin married the child’s mother, Syabilla Syamien Riyadi, 24, in 2016 when Sabrina was two years old. The couple also have twin boys together. Ms Syabilla, a Singapore permanent resident from Indonesia, is currently in prison and has been scheduled to serve as a prosecution witness, the report noted.

In 2018, the couple were toilet-training Sabrina who was about to enter pre-school. On the morning of the offence, Mr Salihin saw a puddle of urine on the floor beside the toilet and became angry. He sat Sabrina on the toilet bowl and hit her stomach repeatedly with his fist.

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The same afternoon, the child missed again after being instructed to go to the toilet independently. Mr Salihin pushed Sabrina to the floor and kicked her stomach at least twice. While the child cried, he picked her up and hit her again in the stomach.

Sabrina began complaining of stomach pain that evening after eating some rice from the dinner Ms Syabilla brought home. The child started vomiting overnight and became unconscious the next morning after Mr Salihin used his finger to ease her vomit, noted straitstimes.com.

Mr Salihin advised Ms Syabilla to call for an ambulance. However, when the paramedics arrived at about 9:30 am they discovered Sabrina was no longer breathing and had no pulse. After resuscitation efforts failed, the child was pronounced dead at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital at 10:20 am.

Hospital officials reported the incident to the police, and Mr Salihin was arrested the following day. According to autopsy results, the child died from internal bleeding caused by blunt force trauma at the abdomen.

Mr Salihin faces the death penalty or life imprisonment if he is convicted of the murder of the child.

Prosecutors informed the High Court that Mr Salihin had confessed to assaulting the child in his police statements and psychiatric interviews.

The man admitted kicking the girl’s abdomen while she was on the floor, adding he targeted her stomach because he wanted to “teach her a lesson” for having “so much problem peeing or passing motion,” the report noted.

The prosecution said it only needs to prove that the accused intended to inflict the fatal injuries and that proving the intent to cause death was not necessary citing case law.

In addition to his current charge, Mr Salihin also faces two charges for acts of violence against the girl.

He is accused of scalding the girl with hot water from the showerhead while at his parents’ flat between July and Oct 2017. He allegedly placed the hot water on the child’s back for five to six seconds as he was angry that the girl did not want to shower with cold water amid his efforts in saving electricity costs.

Mr Salihin is also charged with causing hurt to the girl between January and April 2018 when he slammed her head on the floor because he was allegedly upset that she hid under the bed when he was trying to feed her.

Defence counsel Syazana Yahya argued that Mr Salihin would be prejudiced by having to defend himself against two non-capital charges plus the capital murder charge; thus, the two other charges have been stood down for now.

The trial is scheduled to continue on Wednesday (Feb 3). /TISG

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