Ho Ngoc Nho is escorted out of a courtroom Friday. Photo: Le Nga
A court in Ho Chi Minh City has sentenced a woman to 18 years in prison for killing a 18-month-old baby in her illegal nursery last year after she couldn't stop him crying.
Ho Ngoc Nho, 19, escaped the death sentence because she was under 18 years old when she committed the crime on November 16, 2013.
The 18-year sentence is the the maximum jail term for offenders under the age of 18 as regulated by Vietnamese law.
Nho was found guilty of killing Do Nhat Long while she was babysitting him and another baby in her rented room in Thu Duc District.
Nho told the court she had never been trained for babysitting and she had not registered with local authorities to open a nursery as required by laws.
According to the indictment, on November 16, 2013, after Long's parent left him at Nho's place at 7 a.m., Nho fed him breakfast but he refused to eat and kept crying.
She lifted him up by his limbs and threatened him, and dropped him on the floor, but he cried even louder. She then trod on his chest and stomach and again to no avail.
She then left the boy there and when she came back 20 minutes later, she found him lying unconscious.
She asked neighbors to help her take him to the hospital, but doctors pronounced him dead on arrival.
The police said the boy had died of multiple injuries to his neck, lungs, heart, liver, and other organs.
Nho herself has a two-year-old son. She told the court that she never beat her old son, and that she could not explain why she did what she did to the baby.
Besides the jail term, the HCMC People’s Court also ordered Nho to pay VND100 million (US$4,729) as compensation to the victim’s family.
The lack of public nurseries and kindergartens in the city, especially in industrial areas, has given rise to private ones to meet the increasingly high demand of working parents.
Many of the private nurseries are not licensed and their staff untrained, resulting in many cases of child abuse.
In January, two babysitters were sentenced to three years in jail each for torturing children at their illegal nursery, also in Thu Duc District.