A Belgian expatriate, Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart, was sentenced 5 years in jail for killing his own 5-year-old son on 5 October 2015 between 9 pm and 10.17 pm.
The 42-year-old man pleaded guilty early this month to a charge of a culpable homicide of Keryan Gabriel Cedric Graffart.
Judicial Commissioner Hoo Sheau Peng said, “This is a tragic case in which a five-year-old child’s life has been ended by his father in the midst of a custody fight with his mother, causing immeasurable pain and suffering to all those left behind.”
“This sentence is necessary to show that the accused’s actions are not to be condoned,” she added.
She also stated the grievous nature of this act, in which a child is supposed to be protected by the parents.
Graffart, a financial executive, was transferred to Singapore from Luxembourg by his employer, European firm Nordea Investment Management in September 2013.
His marriage with his French wife Gwendoline broke down early the following year.
The two had been fighting over the boy’s custody. On 5 October 2015 at about lunchtime, Graffart was informed about the development of his custody suit which left him in desperation. Gwendoline was reported to have taken a Personal Protection Order against him.
He then wrote an email to his lawyer Ramesh Tiwary, saying, “I am so tired of all this … really tired. I want to … end this nightmare. I cannot change the past but I can change the future … I am so afraid to lose my son.”
During the period of the fight for the boy’s custody, Graffart had seen four doctors for he had not been feeling well. He claimed that he had difficulties in sleeping and threw up daily until he lost 10 kg of his weight. However, nobody realised that he was suffered from a major depressive disorder. On the other hand, the doctors gave him the prescription of sleeping pills for his condition.
Later that night, Graffart read two bedtime stories for the boy on his bed in their apartment at D’Leedon Condominium. He was preparing two sleeping pills for himself. However, he gave them to his son instead.
After the boy fell asleep, Graffart pressed a cushion against the boy’s face until he stopped moving, prevented the boy from breathing. He said he then cradled the boy’s body in his arms and whisper to him that he was going to join his son.
Graffart then drove his car in a full speed, unbuckle his safety belt, and crashed the car into the tunnel of the Marina Coastal Expressway. The suicide attempt was failed and he was taken to the hospital.
A couple of hours later, he left the hospital with a hospital tag and an intravenous drip needle attached and went back home by taking Uber, where he tried to commit another suicide attempt. But he could not bring himself to jump off his 32-storey balcony or stab himself with a kitchen knife.
Therefore, he took another Uber car and went to the police station and confessed, “I have done something really bad to my son.”
Deputy Public Prosecutor Sharmila Sripathy-Shanaz said, “Keryan was barely five years old when his life was prematurely extinguished by his father… though labouring under a psychiatric condition at that time, it was clear that his actions were motivated by his selfishness.”
She said that the psychiatric condition of the man could not be the “blanket excuse” for such action, “The cold hard truth is that his actions resulted directly in the loss of a life.”
Mr Tiwary said that his client had gone into a deep delusion of being able to be together again with his son after death.
“To say that my client regrets what happened is an understatement. A day doesn’t pass in his life since he committed this offence where he does not think of his son and regret the foolish action that he did that day. If he could see his son once more, there is no price my client wouldn’t pay to turn back the clock,” he said.
Graffart wrote a letter tendered to the court and said, “There (are) no words to say how sorry and broken I am by this tragedy… My depression gave me no choice. It convinced me that death was better than life… I am not a killer and will never be. My depression killed my son and almost killed me. I am so sorry.”