Court reduces sentence for mother who drowned infant

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Court reduces sentence for mother who drowned infant

A local appeals court on Friday reduced a seven-year jail term by two years for the woman who drowned her 53-day-old daughter in a steaming pot last September.

While acknowledging that the 42-year-old mother failed to carry out her duty to raise and protect the child, the Seoul High Court issued a verdict saying it would be difficult to place the blame entirely upon the mother because she herself had been “suffering from immense mental pain.”

The verdict continued that the lower court’s seven-year jail term was “wrong” because it didn’t take into consideration the woman’s agony, which included postpartum depression, conflict with her mother-in-law and financial constraints.

The case dates back to Sept. 30, when the woman’s husband of 13 years, a mechanical engineer, left home for work. The woman was previously married, and the couple was also raising her son from that relationship.

With her husband supporting the four-person family on just 400,000 won ($340) per month, the woman was barely able to feed her children, let alone see a psychiatrist to treat her personality disorder, with which she was diagnosed after her arrest.

According to police, after her husband went to work, she entered the kitchen, poured out the miyeokguk (seaweed soup) from her large steaming pot and filled it with water. She then took her daughter, who was asleep in bed, and put her in the pot upside down, drowning her.

The woman took a knife and left the house; police believe she intended to commit suicide. Her younger sister, who found the baby later that day, contacted police. The mother was found near a port in Incheon 15 hours later.

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