Great Britain

Girl, 5, tortured to death by parents drew picture of blood-soaked home but was ignored by cops weeks before death

THIS child's drawing showing what appears to be blood-spattered walls was at the heart of a horror court case which heard how a five-year-old girl was tortured to death by her parents.

The chilling nursery school sketch - seen as a cry for help - shows an adult standing in a house with red stains on the ceiling, as well as "blood" running down the walls and pooling on the floor.

Chen Ruilin's drawing was shown as a court heard her abuse included being thrown into the air so that her head bashed on the ceiling, leaving injuries that were discovered by doctors when she was hospitalised one last time before she died.

It was just one of the exhibits made available during a month of heartbreaking testimony from family members, teachers and doctors into the abuse suffered by the young victim at the family home in Hong Kong.

When she finally died doctors found that she had more than 130 wounds on her tiny body, some of them new and some of them old.

They included the injuries caused from being thrown against the ceiling, and she had suffered so many years of abuse that she had been left physically weakened and unable to fight a bacterial infection.

Father Chen Haiping, 29, and stepmother Huang Xiaotong, 30, were found guilty of murdering the five-year-old after a month-long trial in the former British colony..

The court heard how the defendants continually beat and starved the little girl, as well as throwing against the ceiling before her death in January 2018.

The case made headlines in Hong Kong after the girl was taken to hospital and found to have so many injuries, many of which appear to have been inflicted with a cane or pair of scissors.

The girl died in hospital shortly after arriving and an autopsy showed that she died of a bacterial infection that her immune system could not handle due to years of physical abuse.

Prosecutors said the victim had been frequently beaten and starved of food, and an enquiry was promised by social workers at the time to see what lessons could be learned and what could have been done to help earlier.

The victim's brother, eight, also allegedly suffered abuse and is now being cared for by his paternal grandmother.

The children's other grandmother, 56, who lived with the family, was also found guilty of two counts of child cruelty. The defendants face sentencing on 20th April.

The maximum sentence they face is life in prison, Hong Kong having abolished the death penalty in 1993, unlike on mainland China, where murderers are in some cases still given the death sentence.

The case caused questions to be raised as to how the little girl's abuse escaped being identified for so long.

The NGO Against Child Abuse has revealed that since then there have been many improvements made in the way the government and official bodies tackle such issues, including a ban on corporal punishment and system that ensures mandatory reporting of suspected child abuse.

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