The trial resumed on Wednesday for the harrowing case involving the alleged abuse and confinement of two young siblings in a toilet, leading to the tragic death of their five-year-old sister.
As the courtroom reconvened, the prosecution called the stepmother to testify against the children’s biological father, who faces a single murder charge in connection with the abuse.
The stepmother testified in court on Thursday (July 6), shedding light on the distressing circumstances endured by two young siblings who were left naked and confined in a toilet at their home.
Her testimony served as crucial evidence against their biological father, who stands accused of a single murder charge for the abuse that led to his daughter’s tragic death, according to reports from TODAY.
The 32-year-old woman appeared as a prosecution witness and revealed that the children, often tearing off their diapers, would fill them with water. This led to the siblings being forced to live in the toilet of their family’s one-room flat for approximately one year.
Tragically, the five-year-old girl, allegedly assaulted by her father, was found lifeless in August 2017, while her younger brother was just under four years old at the time.
At the start of the trial on Wednesday, the stepmother had coldly stated that she didn’t feel anything towards her stepchildren. However, when she took the stand, she expressed deep sadness for the children’s plight. She shared distressing details of her husband’s frequent abuse of the girl and admitted to seldom intervening due to his agitated state.
The stepmother also acknowledged that she resorted to hitting the children at times, without providing a reason for their eating of feces, according to reports from TODAY.
Describing her husband’s behavior as “abnormal,” the stepmother testified that he would assault the children, treating them as if they were adults. Disturbing closed-circuit television footage from March 2016 was played in court, capturing the father using scissors to threaten the four-year-old girl, who was clad only in diapers. He proceeded to physically attack her, repeatedly hitting and kicking her, and even used a cane to strike her head, arms, and legs.
The stepmother, who had installed CCTV cameras to monitor the confined children, admitted to witnessing the abuse but refrained from intervening physically out of fear for her own safety.
The court learned that the children had been moved to the toilet from their previous confinement near a window in early 2016. They spent nights sleeping naked in the cramped space and were only allowed out for meals or when the adults needed to use the toilet, according to reports from TODAY.
Explaining why the children were not clothed, the stepmother revealed that they initially wore diapers. However, due to their persistent habit of tearing and filling the diapers with water, her husband decided to leave them naked.
When asked about their confinement, she expressed deep sadness and remorse but explained that she did not intervene as she had agreed with her husband to care only for her biological children.
Further details emerged regarding the events leading to the girl’s tragic death.
On August 10, 2017, the stepmother went to the toilet to encourage the children to exercise as they had been lying down all day. When the girl’s brother refused, she returned to the mattress where she slept with her own daughters. It was during this time that the girl’s father entered the toilet, and the stepmother heard angry shouts and a loud bang. Rushing to the scene, she found the girl crying and whimpering, clearly distressed.
Upon touching her cheek, she discovered a chilling coldness. Disturbed by what she felt, she hastily left the toilet and called for her husband, who rushed in to check on the girl. After a while, he emerged from the toilet and uttered the heart-wrenching words, stating that the girl “was no longer there.”
The following day, the man abruptly woke his wife and announced his intention to go to the hospital. However, his behavior took a shocking turn as he threatened to engage in forced sexual activity, physically assault her, and instructed her to report him to the police. The motive behind his disturbing actions remained unclear.
Complying with his demand, she courageously filed a police report regarding the assault inflicted upon her that day. On that very same day, approximately 15 hours after he realized the girl had tragically passed away, he took his son and the lifeless body of the girl to a hospital.
During the trial, the man’s defense lawyer, Mervyn Cheong, questioned the woman regarding various details captured in the CCTV footage depicting the abuse. He inquired whether she had walked into the video frame to hand over the cane to the man, which was later used to hit the victim.
In response, she stated that she could not remember. Mr. Cheong then suggested that she had walked away because she saw that the man already had the cane, to which she repeated that she could not recall.
Another video from August 2016 was presented in court, showing the man pushing a pram with the girl and her brother down the corridor outside their one-room flat and into their home. Upon entering the house, the children stood and stared at the woman, who was recording the video.
Mr. Cheong pointed out that the woman did not address the children by their names but instead referred to the girl as “A (eh)” and the boy as “guy” in Malay. When asked why she used such terms, the woman took a moment to ponder and confessed that she did not know why. Under further questioning, Mr. Cheong asked if she would sometimes call the girl by her name and at other times use “A (eh),” to which she replied, “Most of the time no, sometimes I don’t even talk to her.”
The defense also presented another video filmed by the woman, showing the man sleeping on a mattress in their home while the two children played beside him. Mr. Cheong suggested that she recorded the video to show the man that he was close to the children because she was jealous of them. However, the woman disagreed with this assertion, frowning as she denied the claim.
The trial is set to continue on Friday morning, as the court delves further into the disturbing details surrounding the case.
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