Teen pleads guilty to killing schoolmate with axe at River Valley High School in 2021


He was originally handed a murder charge, but it was reduced in February to one of culpable homicide. - ST FILE

SINGAPORE: Suffering from depression, a 16-year-old student at River Valley High School bought several weapons, including a combat axe, between March and April 2021.

Now 18, he pleaded guilty on Dec 1 to killing a fellow student with an axe.

He had planned to commit suicide by slashing people in school, so the police could shoot him to death.

On July 14, 2021, he took the axe and a knife to school in a badminton bag, which he hid under a sink in the toilet, but failed to follow through with his plan.

He tried again on July 19, 2021.

At about 11.15am, he left his classroom and waited in the toilet, armed with the axe, and repeatedly slashed a 13-year-old student who entered the toilet. The two were not known to each other.

The assailant, who cannot be named under the Children and Young Persons Act, pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide.

A previously imposed gag order on the name of the victim, Ethan Hun, was lifted by the High Court at his parents’ request.

The accused was originally handed a murder charge, but it was reduced in February to one of culpable homicide.

The teen, who has been in remand since the incident, took his O-level examinations as a private candidate while in custody.

The Singapore Prison Service had said the teen sat the exams in 2022 as a private candidate.

After the incident, the school was given additional counsellors, and mental well-being awareness talks were conducted for its students.

During earlier court proceedings, the court heard that the accused had attempted suicide in 2019, and was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health.

Ethan’s parents were not in court, but their lawyer Mervyn Cheong was present on a watching brief.

In a statement through Cheong, Ethan’s parents said: “We are heartbroken. We believe many who know Ethan will be too.

“Yet, we want to encourage everyone to remember Ethan fondly instead. Remember him for his goodness, his kind heart, and his peace-loving nature. Remember that he would want us to be happy.” - The Straits Times/ANN

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