Jailed: Father who was too busy playing with his phone to notice his baby daughter choking to death

Photo: Flickr
Photo: Flickr

Having been found to display a high degree of negligence, a man was sentenced to six months in jail yesterday for causing his daughter’s death — by prioritizing his mobile phone game over the well-being of his baby.

The Straits Times reported that 28-year-old Mohamed Shiddiq Sazali was also given a concurrent sentence of three months in prison for causing grievous hurt to the child with a negligent act that endangered her personal safety. A few months before the baby’s death, he accidentally dropped his daughter on her head, leaving the three-and-a-half-month-old with a broken skull.

On Oct 12, 2015, his then-girlfriend (the child’s mother) had left the baby in the care of Shiddiq after leaving the house. He placed the child on his lap and used one hand to hold the milk bottle to his daughter’s mouth, while the other hand was used to play the game. The prosecution pointed out that Shiddiq showed blatant indifference to the child’s distress — even when the child was fidgeting and rejecting the bottle, he continued to hold the bottle to her mouth, force-feeding her.

The baby thrashed around for about two minutes before she apparently choked on the milk. The exact cause of death could not be ascertained, but a forensic pathologist theorized that leaving the milk bottle in the child’s mouth might have resulted in the blocking of her upper airway, possibly resulting in the avoidable death.

According to the ST report, the child died just five weeks after being discharged from hospital, where she was treated for a broken skull due to Shiddiq’s negligence. On Aug 26, 2015, he failed to support her head when he was bending down to pick up a pacifier at a void deck of an HDB block. The baby fell backward and hit her head on the ground.

To make things worse, Shiddiq lied to his girlfriend about the incident, stating that he did not know why the baby was crying non-stop. He was afraid that she would scold him.

“The accused showed a general irresponsible and lax attitude towards his caregiving duties,” argued the prosecution.

His sentence has been backdated to Oct 17. He could have received the maximum penalty of two years in jail and a fine for causing death by negligence, and another two-year jail sentence and/or a S$5,000 fine for causing grievous hurt.



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