Elderly Chinese woman who killed disabled son after 46 years of devotion shown mercy in court

Woman, 83, said she was too ill to care for son who could neither walk nor talk, but wouldn’t burden other family members

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 31 October, 2017, 2:07pm
UPDATED : Tuesday, 31 October, 2017, 2:31pm

An 83-year-old woman from southern China has been given a three-year suspended prison sentence for killing her severely disabled 46-year-old son for whom she had cared all his life.

A court in Guangzhou, capital of Guangdong province, found the woman, identified only by her surname Huang, guilty of murder but showed leniency due to the circumstances of the case, Beijing Youth Daily reported on Monday.

“She deserves mercy even though she did break the law,” Wan Yunfeng, the president of the court and head judge, was quoted as saying.

The court heard that on May 9, Huang fed her son, Li, about 60 sleeping pills and strangled him with a silk scarf while covering his nose with cotton pads.

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At her trial on September 21, she said she took her son’s life because she feared no one would care for him after she died. She handed herself in to the police the same day, the report said.

“I would never give up on him. He was my son,” Huang said when asked if she had ever considered killing Li before. “But for the past two years my own health was too poor to take care of him any more.”

Li was born prematurely with severe mental and physical disabilities that left him unable to walk or talk. In the years before his death, his condition had worsened significantly, the report said.

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“I’m getting older and weaker and might die before him,” Huang was quoted as telling the police when she handed herself in. “The idea of killing him occurred to me a week before [the murder] and I had been struggling.”

She said she even wrote a note before giving Li the sleeping pills, explaining it was all her own idea and had nothing to do with anyone else.

In court, prosecutors asked Huang why she could not have arranged for Li to have been left in the care of his elder brother, but she said she was not prepared to burden him.

“It was my fault to give birth to him and make him suffer,” she was quoted as saying. “I’d rather commit murder than leave him to someone else.”

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Huang’s elder son, also surnamed Li, was quoted as saying that his mother had looked after his brother since birth and had been forced to retire from work when he was 10 to care for him on a full-time basis.

She was sentenced to three years in prison suspended for four years.