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Judge mulls murder charge in fatal child abuse case

A HCM City judge is mulling charging a man with murder after his girlfriend beat his eight-year-old daughter to death late last year.
Defendants Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang and Nguyen Kim Trung Thai at a trial of fatal child abuse on Thursday. The trial has been postponed for further investigation. VNA/VNS Photo

The HCM City People’s Court on Thursday said it postponed the trial following a proposal by prosecutors to change the crime of the child’s father, Nguyen Kim Trung Thai, 37, to murder instead of torture.

Initially, the man had been charged with torturing and covering up his partner’s crimes under the 2015 Penal Code, which carry an eight-year sentence. 

Meanwhile, the woman, Nguyen Vo Quynh Trang, 27, was accused of murdering and torturing the child.

The judge said it was necessary to re-examine the rate of injury caused to the child to identify the man’s crimes (murder or torture), which requires further investigation into the case.

If convicted, the couple could be sentenced to death, the highest punishment available for murder in Vietnam. 

According to the indictment, the girl was the daughter of Thai and his ex-wife. In August 2020, the couple divorced and Thai was permitted to raise the daughter.

In September 2020, Thai started living with his girlfriend Trang at an apartment in Binh Thanh District in HCM City. The daughter also lived with them.

On the afternoon of December 22, 2021, while the father was out for work, Trang grew frustrated while she was tutoring the girl at home. She then scolded and beat the child using a large wooden stick, and repeatedly brutally beat the child for four hours in a row, eventually causing her death.

Knowing Trang’s criminal actions, Thai deleted all camera data of the apartment in order to conceal the crime, avoid detection and hinder the investigation. Thai’s conduct constitutes a cover-up of the crime.

Regarding the motive of the crime, Trang stated that she beat and tortured the child because she did not study well.

However, the child’s teacher and her nanny verified that the girl was obedient, polite and a good student.

The camera data shows that Trang repeatedly beat the child.

Neighbours’ testimonies also revealed that the child suffered from violence numerous times before the fatal event.

Trang was arrested on December 23, one day after the child’s death, following a hospital report on the girl’s unusual wounds and injuries. On December 28, she was prosecuted on charges of torturing.

The father was detained on December 31 on suspicion of the same crime. 

The violent death has triggered indignation among people nationwide.

In a related issue, the People’s Court in the central province of Quang Nam on Monday sentenced a 30-year-old man to death for killing his five-year-old daughter by throwing her into a river earlier this year. 

Source: Vietnam News

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