Housewife Escaped Gallows for Bashing Own Baby to Death

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A Melaka woman was ordered to be sent to a psychiatric hospital, escaping the death sentence for causing the death of her child.

  • Tossed 22-month-old in the air
  • Knocked baby’s head on the floor
  • Old injuries found on child’s body
  • Accused found to be of unsound mind
  • Confined to psychiatric husband
Khairunisah Lokman/NST

 On Aug 4, 2015, housewife Daphne Phang Mei Kei, 28, was charged at the Alor Gajah magistrate’s court with killing her daughter aged 22 months.

She was charged under Section 302 of the Penal Code, which carries the mandatory death penalty upon conviction, for the murder of Evan Chee Xin Ci at 5.30pm on Jul 20, 2015 at her house on Jalan Padi Indah Utama, Taman Padi Indah, Pulau Sebang.

Daphne, who was pregnant at the time, had thrown Evan in the air and knocked her head on the floor several times as she was agitated by the child’s continuous crying for milk.

The baby died later that day.

The case was initially classified as “sudden death.”

A post-mortem, however, revealed that the child had two severe cracks on the back of her skull, fresh swelling on her forehead and nose, and old injuries on her body.

More than 25 prosecution and defence witnesses were called during the trial.

The High Court in Melaka found that Daphne was of unsound mind when committing the offence.

Judicial Commissioner Siti Khadijah S Hassan Badjenid ruled that the defence had failed to raise reasonable doubt against the prosecution’s case, which held that the accused was responsible for her daughter’s death.

“Under Section 84 of the Penal Code, Daphne was (deemed) of unsound mind when committing the murder, and was incapable of knowing the nature of the act, or that what she was doing what either wrong or contrary to the law.

“Due to this, the court has ordered, under Section 348 (1) of the Criminal Procedure Code (safe custody of person acquitted), for Daphne to be placed under the safe custody of the Permai Hospital in Johor Baru.

“Daphne is to be confined to the psychiatric hospital at the pleasure of the Melaka Yang di-Pertua Negeri Tun Mohd Khalil Yaakob under Section 348 (2) of the Criminal Procedure Code,” Siti Khadijah said.

Daphne reportedly has three other children by her 35-year-old husband.

After the court verdict, Daphne smiled broadly and shook hands with other accused at the courthouse while her family members were visibly relieved.