Singapore – A 30-year-old man pleaded guilty to physically abusing and assaulting his 68-year-old mother, including starving her and using a metal padlock to hit her in the groin.
In 2017, Andy Koh Ju Hua, then a Master’s student at the National University of Singapore, began starving his mother and attacked her when he was stressed with schoolwork.
Mr Koh pleaded guilty on Tuesday (Mar 16) to four counts of voluntarily causing hurt, one of which is under the newly enhanced provisions for victims in close relationships with the accused, reported channelnewsasia.com.
Mr Koh lived with his parents and began physically abusing his mother in 2017. On top of starving her, he would not allow her to shower or make noise whenever he was stressed with schoolwork.
The abuse continued over a few years, although the victim refused to file a police report as she did not want to jeopardise her son’s future. She would instead seek refuge occasionally with her nephew and niece.
In January 2018, Mr Koh used his kneecap to hit his mother’s vaginal area, with the intent to cause hurt. Her niece discovered her in an unkempt state, complaining about pain in her lower regions, the report noted.
The victim refused her niece’s advise to call the police and went to the hospital, claiming she had fallen so as not to implicate her son.
Medical reports showed extensive bruising over the woman’s abdomen, lower limbs, buttocks and external genitalia. She was given intravenous antibiotics before being discharged.
Mr Koh assaulted his mother again in December 2018 by hitting and slapping her in the face. He also hooked a metal padlock around his finger and struck her vaginal area multiple times.
His mother let him take out his frustrations on her and did not retaliate. The court heard she was found with swelling on her body and bloodstains on her gown near her groin area.
She went to the hospital again under the premise that her injuries resulted from a fall in the toilet. Her medical report showed bruising on her nose, jaw, lower lip, chin and pubic region, including post-menopausal vaginal bleeding.
In June 2020, Mr Koh suddenly punched his mother after calling her over to their flat. She ran out of the house bleeding and “out of desperation”. His mother sought refuge with her relatives, who noted she looked frail, dirty, thin and sunken. They saw bruises on her face, which prompted her nephew to inform the authorities of the abuse.
During her visit to the hospital, the victim admitted she was punched in the face by her son.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Magdalene Huang sought at least 30 weeks’ jail, noting the victim was not only elderly and vulnerable but also Mr Koh’s mother.
His manner of attacking his mother with the metal padlock “is especially vicious and cruel”, said Ms Huang. “Although the accused has ultimately chosen to plead guilty, he had denied his offences to the police. Throughout investigations, he denied the offences.”
Ms Huang highlighted that, according to a report from the Institute of Mental Health, Mr Koh displayed “a complete lack of remorse.”
“The only one mitigating factor is his mental condition as supported by the IMH report,” said Ms Huang, who did not reveal the condition.
Unrepresented, Mr Koh asked for a mandatory treatment order (MTO). “I love my mother a lot, and I do not know why I committed all those silly things to her. I need to undergo treatment to overcome my psychotic disorder,” he said.
Although the prosecution objected to an MTO, saying Mr Koh had to be punished for his egregious offences, District Judge Kessler Soh responded, “It’s appropriate for us to at least consider an MTO report before we consider. What is critical is for the offender to receive treatment if it’s something that had any causal or contributory link, but we should get a report to ascertain if that’s the case.”
Mr Koh has been remanded since November 2020. He said that he loves his mother and hopes to reunite with her and “live happily ever after” with his mother after his treatment for a purported “psychotic disorder”.
The case has been adjourned to a later date, although court records later indicated that the decision to call for an MTO suitability report had been retracted. The case will commence on Mar 23 for mitigation and sentencing./TISG
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