Father Admits to Killing Twin Sons in Greenridge Crescent, Believing it Would Ease Wife’s Burdens


On Tuesday (August 15), a man was sentenced to 14 years in prison for the tragic killing of his twin sons in January 2022, an event that deeply affected the entire nation.

According to Channel News Asia, Xavier Yap Jung Houn justified his actions by expressing the belief that his wife had given up on their 11-year-old twin boys, who were autistic. He thought that by ending their lives, he could relieve his wife’s burdens.

Additionally, he worried about the boys being subjected to bullying and having no one to care for them after he and his wife passed away.

Justice Vincent Hoong, in delivering the sentence, acknowledged that no amount of jail time could ever compensate for the profound loss of the two young lives. He expressed his hope that Yap would utilize his incarceration period for introspection regarding the irreversible damage he had inflicted upon his family. The judge emphasized that Yap’s misguided convictions, aiming to alleviate their suffering, had led to lasting harm.

Yap, aged 50, pleaded guilty to two counts of culpable homicide, which fell short of murder charges, for the suffocation deaths of Yap Kai Shern Aston and Yap E Chern Ethan near an Upper Bukit Timah playground. The original murder charges were downgraded due to the revelation that Yap was grappling with a moderate-severity major depressive disorder around the time of the tragic incident.


Yap lived with his wife, twin sons, and a domestic helper who was hired to assist in caring for the boys. The couple had suspected their twin boys had autism spectrum disorder since they were two years old, and this was confirmed when they were formally diagnosed with global developmental delay and autism spectrum disorder in May 2017.

Despite recommendations for the twins to attend a special education school, the boys’ mother struggled to accept their condition. In 2019, the non-verbal nine-year-old twins were enrolled in Primary 1 at a mainstream school, CNA reported.

Due to their learning difficulties, both the mother and the maid would take turns accompanying them to classes. This resulted in one child missing school when the mother was unavailable. The father, Yap, was not involved in decisions regarding the boys’ schooling or activities like meet-the-parent sessions.

Yap’s Relationship with His Sons:

Yap had a positive relationship with his sons. He typically refrained from using physical discipline and actively contributed to their daily necessities, even purchasing items they desired. He became more engaged in their education after they began attending primary school.

Around 2019 or 2020, Yap started becoming increasingly worried about his sons’ well-being.

By 2021, he noticed his wife’s escalating anger toward their sons, further intensifying his apprehension. During this period, Yap’s mental state deteriorated, leading to thoughts of sui*ide. At the beginning of 2022, he began seriously contemplating ending the lives of his sons and himself. Yap observed that his wife was experiencing depression and frustration, exacerbated by the boys undergoing assessment for their continued attendance at the mainstream primary school.

In this context, Yap developed the belief that his wife had given up on their sons due to the challenges they faced, which ultimately contributed to his tragic decision.

Tragic Playground Incident

In a heart-wrenching turn of events, Xavier Yap Jung Houn’s distressing actions unfolded at Greenridge Crescent Playground, driven by a profoundly troubled state of mind.

On January 21, 2022, Yap noticed the serene atmosphere around the Greenridge Crescent Playground, which featured an expansive field and adjacent forest. It was then that he resolved to carry out his tragic plan.

Around 4:45 pm that fateful day, he drove his twin sons to the playground, armed with an ice pick. Following a brief playtime of approximately 10 minutes, Yap executed his plan. Methodically, he carried each boy to a nearby canal adjacent to the open field. Yap pressed a stick against Ethan’s neck, followed by strangling him and submerging his face in the water.

Aston, observing quietly, met the same horrifying fate as his brother.

Once the act was done, Yap attempted to end his own life using various methods, including the ice pick and natural elements like a tree branch and a rock. When his attempts proved unsuccessful, a disturbing idea took hold.

In a bid to evade accountability and orchestrate a specific outcome, Yap concocted a plan to feign an attack. Believing that this ruse would paint him as lacking remorse and thus lead to a death penalty, he placed his sons’ bodies in a specific manner and contacted the authorities.

He made initial calls to his wife, then twice contacted the police, falsely claiming an attack and seeking assistance in locating his sons.

As the police arrived, Yap awaited them, with his sons’ lifeless bodies arranged and his own injuries feigned.

Subsequent autopsies revealed the grim cause of death – both boys had been strangled. These findings illuminated the horrendous reality of Yap’s actions.

Yap’s mental health assessment uncovered the presence of major depressive disorder during the time of the tragic events. This condition significantly compromised his judgment, leading to the partial defense of diminished responsibility.

Despite his awareness of the wrongfulness of his actions, Yap’s overwhelming hopelessness for his sons’ future and a misguided belief that ending their lives would relieve their perceived suffering drove him to commit this unthinkable act. He also believed this grim plan would offer a chance for his wife and stepdaughter to move forward.


In the course of sentencing proceedings, a team of prosecutors led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Kumaresan Gohulabalan put forth a request for a prison term ranging from 14 to 20 years for the accused, Yap. The prosecution advocated for consecutive sentences to be imposed, taking into account the gravity of the charges involved, according to CNA.

DPP Kumaresan underscored that the suggested sentence was not intended to be unduly harsh, given the tragic loss of two young lives. He emphasized the vulnerability of the children, highlighting their unquestioning obedience to their father’s actions, even in the distressing circumstance of witnessing the death of one of their own. The prosecutor further pointed to Yap’s deliberate measures in ensuring the boys’ demise, particularly by submerging them face down in water.

Representing Yap, his legal team, including Mr. Choo Si Sen, Mr. Patrick Nai, Ms. Choo Yean Lin of Tan Lee & Partners, and Mr. Muhammad Razeen Sayed Majunoon, argued for concurrent sentences totaling five years of imprisonment.


According to Mr. Choo’s statement, the boys struggled to adapt within the conventional school environment, a sentiment underscored by their mother’s unwavering refusal to acknowledge their diagnosed conditions. Despite the school’s own assessment deeming mainstream education inappropriate, she insisted on their continued enrollment.

Mr. Choo further revealed that Yap had observed physical marks, specifically bruises on Aston’s face, raising concerns about potential harm. Additionally, Yap had received information from a third party indicating that these injuries were inflicted by his wife.

The situation within the family took a distressing turn when Yap began to suspect his wife’s involvement in an extramarital affair, a suspicion arising in late 2021. Concurrently, he noted a noticeable shift in her demeanor towards the family. He alleged that her behavior became markedly harsher, particularly directed towards the boys. This apparent change culminated in Yap noticing the presence of cane marks on the children’s bodies, a distressing development that emerged around January 2022.


During the defense’s presentation, it was revealed that Yap had a particular connection to Greenridge Crescent Playground, considering it a suitable place for what he tragically saw as ending his and his sons’ lives together. This sentiment was rooted in his history of taking the boys there for recreational activities on multiple occasions.

Yap, attired in a white shirt, was somber as he listened intently to the proceedings while seated in the courtroom after being brought in from remand.

His demeanor visibly shifted as Mr. Nai read aloud a personal letter that Yap had composed for the court. In the heartfelt letter, Yap expressed profound regret for the tumult and turmoil he had caused. He recounted his unawareness of his progressing depression, attributing it to concerns about his sons. He asserted that his wife’s “unreasonable behavior” towards their children had exacerbated his emotional state.

Yap detailed his wife’s inability to accept their sons’ special needs and her unrealistic expectations for their behavior, which fueled a pattern of physical punishments and scoldings. He disclosed that learning of his wife’s alleged infidelity further deepened his despair.

The letter illuminated Yap’s overwhelming sadness and hopelessness, leading him to lose faith in the well-being of his sons after his passing. He conveyed that his tragic decision was driven by a desire to end their perceived suffering, viewing a swift death sentence as the most lenient resolution that would reunite him with his sons.

Yap shared his post-incarceration realization that his wife appeared unaffected by their sons’ deaths, even welcoming her lover into their home. He highlighted her disposal of the boys’ belongings, signifying a breach that he could no longer endure.

Looking toward the future, Yap expressed a commitment to fulfill a promise to his elderly mother by pursuing education in social service work. He aimed to leverage his experience as a father of children with autism, along with his own battle against major depressive disorder, to contribute positively to society.

In response, Justice Hoong emphasized the gravity of parental violence against children and the profound trust inherent in the parent-child relationship. He referenced a Court of Appeal judgment, stressing that parents who betray this trust and harm their children are at the extreme end of culpability.

Justice Hoong rejected the defense’s plea for concurrent sentences, emphasizing Yap’s violation of the legally safeguarded interests of both Ethan and Aston. Allowing concurrent jail terms would be deemed “morally unjust” in this context, he stated.

Culpable homicide, not amounting to murder, carries potential penalties of life imprisonment with caning or up to 20 years in jail, coupled with a fine or caning.

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