Stepmother faces court on child-abuse charges

A woman was tried for allegedly beating her 6-year-old stepson to death in December last year, and could face up to 15 years in prison for the offence.

Seng Sreytin, 27, is accused of beating Sary Vireak Botr repeatedly while his father was at work in December last year, the Phnom Penh Municipal Court heard yesterday. The boy died three days later from his injuries.

“She was angry with her husband for loving his son, who was from a previous marriage, rather than her own daughter,” judge Chuon Soreasy said.

“She often beat and tortured him every day when her husband went to work. She kicked him in the stomach and chest, causing the victim to die from his injuries,” he added.

Sreytin yesterday admitted she had beaten the child, but pleaded for leniency by claiming she did not intend to kill him. “I only beat him to warn him,” she said.

The court’s deputy prosecutor, Hoeung Bunthorn, said she had been charged with “aggravated violence” and could be sentenced to between seven and 15 years.

“She was a cruel woman. She should be given the maximum sentence,” he said.

Sreytin was arrested on December 16 after the child’s grandmother, Kong Sina, 65, notified the authorities, he added. The family is suing for $10,000 compensation.

A verdict is expected to be announced on May 22.