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Taiwan High Court spares life of single mother convicted of killing her kids

Taiwan High Court expects she will get back on right track after therapy

The single mother, surnamed Wu (right)

The single mother, surnamed Wu (right) (CNA photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) — The Taiwan High Court on Thursday (Nov. 11) spared the life of a single mother convicted of killing her own children, overturning a lower court’s death sentence and giving her a life sentence that can be appealed.

The sentencing document said the outcome of a forensic psychiatric assessment showed that the defendant, surnamed Wu (吳), committed the crime when she was suffering from depression and tremendous emotional stress, CNA reported. The court made its decision on the grounds that she had been mentally ill and that it’s possible for her to live a positive life after rehabilitation.

Wu has expressed remorse for her acts, studied diligently in prison, and has high expectations for her future, the document said. The court expected she would get back on the right track following therapy, as psychiatric assessments and interviews conducted after the crime did not indicate she had a ruthless, antisocial personality.

The document said that although Wu’s behavior seriously violated the Implementation Act of the Convention on the Rights of the Child, her acts are not “crimes of extreme gravity, involving intentional killing.” Therefore, the court ruled the death penalty should not be imposed on her under the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights as well as the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights.

According to prosecutors, Wu, 30, was single-handedly raising her six-year-old son and seven-year-old daughter after a divorce. However, last February, her financial situation became extremely severe, and the problem was compounded by a feud with her elder brother and sister-in-law.

One day she took her children to a hotel room, where she tried to smother them to death with pillows. When her children fought back, Wu temporarily gave up, though she drugged them and strangled them to death two days later.

The New Taipei District Court held that Wu was extremely cruel and selfish for ending her children’s lives. Noting that she showed no remorse for her actions, the court sentenced her to death.

Wu appealed the death sentence in the Taiwan High Court. During a hearing for the second trial in October, the mother cried many times, admitting that though she had killed her two children, she very much regretted her actions.

She told the judges that she dreamed of her children every day. Wu added that she had asked her ex-husband’s family for child support, but the request was denied.

She said that although she was “not a perfect mother,” she would give herself a score of 99 out of 100 for how she took care of the children over the past seven years — at least until the very end. Wu admitted that she failed in overcoming financial, family, and emotional pressures.

Updated : 2022-01-27 11:43 GMT+08:00