An elderly mother has been shown mercy by a court in Guangzhou after confessing to murdering her severely disabled son who she had been taking care of for nearly half a century.
The 83-year-old woman, surnamed Huang, admitted that on May 9th she fed her 46-year-old son around 60 sleeping pills before stuffing cotton pads into his nose and strangling him with a scarf until he stopped breathing. The following day, she turned herself in to police.
At her trial on September 21st, she explained why she had murdered her own son.
“I’m getting older and weaker and I was afraid that I might die before he did and he would have no one to take care of him,” Huang said. “I struggled with the decision for a week before deciding to feed him sleeping pills.”
When asked why some other family member could not take care of her son, Huang replied that she did not want to pass that heavy burden on to anyone else. “I was the one that gave birth to him and made him suffer,” she said. “I would rather kill him than leave him for someone else to care for.”
“Ending his painful life is better than having him suffer any more,” she continued. “He is my son. I never hated or shunned him. I never thought about giving up on him before, but for the past two years my health has been getting worse.”
Huang’s son was born prematurely with severe mental and physical disabilities that left him unable to talk, walk or live on his own. Over the years, his muscles atrophied and his condition grew worse, meaning that his mother had to spend more time taking care of him.
While Huang’s friends had suggested that she give her son to a welfare facility, Huang insisted that no one could take better care of her son than she could. When she was 47 years old, she applied for retirement so that she could spend more time caring for him.
At court, Huang’s family defended her actions, explaining that after 46 years of selfless devotion, she had been pressed into making a horrific decision about ending her own child’s life.
“My mother’s crime is nothing like homicide,” Huang’s eldest son told the court. “She only wanted to end his suffering. In her heart, she did not want to harm my younger brother.”
In the end, the court gave Huang a three-year suspended prison sentence with the judge explaining that even though she broke the law, she still deserves mercy.
“Rather than murder out of hatred, this was murder out of love. However, the right to life is a person’s most important right. No one can take that away, including a parent,” the judge said.
[Images via Xinhua]
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