Saturday, 24 Oct 2020

'Selfless father' who was stressed from caring for mentally ill adult daughter gets jail for killing her

SINGAPORE – For years, a “selfless, loving and devoted father” tirelessly cared for his demanding adult daughter, who scolded her parents incessantly, constantly found fault with them and even made them bow before her .

The unemployed woman, Ms Desiree Tan Jiaping, told her parents to transfer their money to her and even told her father, a private-hire driver, that he needed to drive more frequently to earn more money.

Tan Tian Chye, 66, and his wife did whatever was necessary to pacify their daughter, who was diagnosed with a mental disorder but refused treatment. Once, he even slapped his wife in front of their daughter to appease her.

On Nov 19, 2018, after Ms Tan told her father that she felt like killing him and then pointed a knife at him, the two had a confrontation in the kitchen of their Bedok South flat, which ended with Tan strangling his 35-year-old daughter.

On Monday (Oct 12), he was sentenced to two years and nine month’s jail after pleading guilty to a reduced charge of culpable homicide.

A psychiatric assessment found that Tan was suffering from a major depressive episode and significant caregiver stress, which substantially impaired his mental responsibility for his acts in killing his daughter.

The sentence was backdated to the date he was remanded in custody and he is expected to be released from prison this week.

High Court judge Hoo Sheau Peng said this was a tragic case, which also served as a stark reminder about the importance of paying attention to the mental health of family members and seeking timely treatment.

“From all accounts, you have been a selfless, loving and devoted father who spent years tirelessly caring for your daughter,” said Justice Hoo.

She noted that Tan will continue to suffer the pain and anguish of his actions.

“It is the wish of all parties… that you and your family come to terms with what you have undergone and experience a measure of closure and healing in your life.”

Tan thanked the judge, the prosecutors and his lawyers. “May God bless all of you,” he added.

The court heard that Ms Tan could not hold onto a full-time job after graduating from university in 2006 and depended on her parents to provide for her.

In 2012, she was taken to Changi General Hospital after she fainted at an MRT station. She was assessed to have “panic attacks with agoraphobia” – a condition where sufferers become anxious in unfamiliar environments – and “hypochondriacal preoccupations”.

Since then, she became very anxious about leaving the flat on her own and her boyfriend moved into the flat to live with her.

She also became more particular and demanding towards her family members and her boyfriend.

She would ask her parents to clean items in the flat repeatedly until she was satisfied and also made them go back to the food stall if they got her order wrong.

Tan would take time off from his driving and take her out to help her overcome her anxiety, and bought a second-hand car, which he allowed her boyfriend to use to take her out.

In 2017, she told her parents that she wanted to apply for a Build-To-Order (BTO) flat with her boyfriend. She pestered her parents to borrow money from relatives and made her younger brother return $50,000 they had spent on his education.

“The deceased became more insistent and abusive, and blamed the accused and his wife for not loving her and not providing enough for her,” Deputy Public Prosecutor Bhajanvir Singh told the court.

She became upset when she found out that she was not the sole beneficiary of her mother’s CPF monies and scolded her parents until her mother changed the nomination and sent her a photo to appease her.

In mid 2018, she started to complain about the smell of cigarette smoke in the flat and demanded that her parents find the culprit.

On Oct 22, 2018, Tan took her to CGH for her distress over the cigarette smoke. She was diagnosed with an unspecified anxiety disorder but declined psychiatric medication, and moved to her aunt’s place to escape the smoke.

On Nov 19, 2018, Tan went to pick her up from her aunt’s place. While they were packing, she scolded him for coming late and being a “lousy” parent.

While they were having lunch, she told him she felt like killing him with a fork and continued scolding and cursing him on the way back to their flat.

When they reached home, she went into the kitchen and Tan picked up a metal pole to arm himself as became afraid that she would harm him.

When he walked into the kitchen and saw her pointing a knife at him, he hit her with the pole, and after she fell to the floor, he grabbed a cloth and strangled her with it.

Tan then called the police to report that he had killed his daughter.

The DPP sought three years’ jail, noting that Tan was a doting father who was placed under tremendous stress and deserved some sympathy.

Defence counsel Derek Kang sought two years and nine months’ jail.

Source: Read Full Article

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