Hong Kong mother found guilty over death of son she would slap and shake over noisy bouts of crying

Waitress told police she grabbed, shook and tossed the tearful boy on to the bed, then slapped him and pinched his cheeks

PUBLISHED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 4:50pm
UPDATED : Monday, 03 April, 2017, 10:58pm

A waitress was found guilty on Monday of killing her three-month old son who she would slap, pinch and shake when she lost self-control over his “very noisy” bouts of crying.

Leung Siu-fong, 31, was convicted of one count of manslaughter in a unanimous verdict in the High Court over the death of Matthew Lee Man-hin at her Cheung Chau home in August 2015.

Clad in a grey jacket, Leung showed no emotion as a seven-member jury returned its decision after five hours of deliberations.

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“The defendant, by the verdict of the jury, has been found guilty so bail is revoked,” the judge, Madam Justice Esther Toh Lye-ping, said.

Leung’s counsel, Hanif Mughal, told the court that the mother was a person of previous good character and urged the judge to order reports on her.

Toh sought reports on the mother’s background and psychological state, as well as a probation officer’s report. She adjourned mitigation and sentencing for Leung, who was educated up to Form 2 and had no prior criminal record, to April 27.

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The court previously heard that on the afternoon of August 25, 2015, Leung made a 999 emergency call about two hours after her child stopped breathing. She told the operator that she did not know why her child’s heart had stopped beating.

The baby was certified dead at about 7pm after being taken to St John Hospital on Cheung Chau.

I didn’t like him
Leung Siu-fong, referring to her son

Leung first told police that the pale-faced baby suffered convulsions before he stopped breathing.

But she later told police she grabbed, shook and tossed the boy, who was crying at the time, on to the bed, then slapped him and pinched his cheeks.

“I didn’t like him,” the mother said in her police statement taken shortly after the death of the boy she called “very noisy”.

She told police under caution that she lost control and harmed her child after he cried repeatedly, and that had been going onfor more than a month.

A video played to the jury during the trial showed Leung re-enacting how she assaulted the baby.

An autopsy found the boy had died from “abusive head trauma”.

The head injuries might have been sustained at least one to two weeks before the boy died, a government pathologist said, adding they were consistent with the kind of assault Leung described.

Leung, who was not living with her husband at the time, said the boy was her first child. He was under the care of his mother and aunt in their Cheung Chau flat.