SINGAPORE: A Singapore judge sentenced a teenager to 16 years in jail today for killing a schoolmate with an axe in a crime that shocked the city state in 2021.
The killing at a state secondary school was a rare incident in a country that is known for its tough approach to law and order, which includes corporal and capital punishment, and has one of the world’s lowest crime rates.
The accused, who was a 16-year-old student at the time and cannot be identified, used an axe to kill another 13-year-old student from River Valley High School.
He pleaded guilty to culpable homicide not amounting to murder and was sentenced to 16 years’ in jail, according to a court judgment.
The perpetrator was suffering from depression at the time, high court judge Hoo Sheau Peng said, which accounted for the culpable homicide charge rather than one of murder.
He carried out the “meticulously planned” killing as part of a plan to commit “suicide by cop”, intending to kill more than one person so police would have no choice but to shoot him dead, Hoo said.
“This was a gratuitously violent killing, terrifying and incomprehensible in its randomness … it has caused a high degree of public disquiet,” she said.
The victim’s parents said in reply to a letter of apology from the killer’s parents that they had forgiven him.
Anyone convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder can be punished with life imprisonment and caning, or a jail term of up to twenty years with a fine or caning.
Singapore has tough laws for even minor offences, such as vandalism, which can be punished by caning.
It has a homicide rate of just 0.2 per 100,000 inhabitants, according to UN data, among the world’s lowest.