SHE abandoned her toddler at a taxi stand - all because she craved her husband's attention.
Yesterday, Anne (not her real name), 32, was sentenced to 18 months of supervised probation for wilful neglect of a child under 12.
She cannot be named because her child is a minor.
She said, 'I didn't plan it at all, I wasn't thinking. My mind was a complete blank.'
In an unusual ruling, Community Court Judge May Mesenas ordered that the mother cannot be left alone with her child when they go out. The judge also ordered that from now on, either the 2 1/2-year-old boy's father or grandmother would have to accompany the woman when the child is around.
Last 11 Sep, Anne pushed her son in a pram from Beo Crescent to Tiong Bahru Plaza. She recalled: 'When I walked past the taxi stand, I just let go.'
She left the pram at the taxi stand and walked away.
Looking down, she added: 'I really don't know why I did that.'
She later said that she was frustrated that her husband, Paul (not his real name), was neglecting her. The husband is a 29-year-old security officer who works shifts.
Anne also felt trapped between her husband and her mother.
'I always have to be the middle person, it's very difficult,' she added.
In an Institute of Mental Health (IMH) report submitted to the court, Anne's mother described Paul as being 'non-communicative, immature, not taking on any responsibility for the care of his child'.
It was not the first time Anne had left her baby unattended. Court documents revealed that she left her son in his pram at a taxi stand at Marsiling MRT Station at 9pm on 1 Sep.
She had an argument with Paul earlier that day and thought he would pass the taxi stand on his way home and see the baby.
The charge of wilful neglect for the 1 Sep incident was taken into consideration during sentencing.
It was also not the first time Anne had run afoul of the law. According to the IMH report, she was jailed a year in 1998 for taking ecstasy and also spent time behind bars in 2002 and 2003 for stealing cosmetics.
On the rocks
Anne's mother revealed in the report that her daughter knew Paul for only two months before they married and that her child was illegitimate.
Anne's lawyer, Mr Noor Mohamed Marican, said she wanted to use their son to get close to Paul again. Yesterday, the couple held hands before and after her time in court.
Paul told The New Paper: 'When I found out what she did, I wasn't angry. But I felt guilty that I hadn't been spending much time with her.'
Anne interrupted: 'It's not too late.'
Both exchanged smiles and held hands tightly. They have talked about their problems and learnt the importance of communication, Paul said.
Anne added: 'Before, we never really talked because he works almost every day. He works shifts and he had no time for me.'
He said that they are now closer than before.
She was charged originally with child abandonment, but it was later reduced to a lesser charge of wilful neglect of a child under 12.
Court documents revealed that Anne suffers from post-natal depression and has borderline IQ.
Under the probation order, Anne has to attend regular psychiatric follow-up treatment and counselling, and take her medication regularly.
Paul posted a $5,000 bond to ensure his wife's good behaviour.
Judge Mesenas advised him: 'You must be on top of things, know what's happening with your child.'
The couple must also attend marital and parental counselling sessions.
Judge Mesenas warned that if she commits the offence again, her child could be taken away and placed in foster care.
She also voiced concerns about the couple's living arrangements. Without a flat of their own, they alternate between their parents' homes, which are far from each other.
Judge Mesenas said: 'You have to sit down and think about what is practical. Think of a solution for both you and your child.'
The couple are applying for a new HDB flat, but said they will also consider buying a resale flat.
Judge Mesenas ordered a review of the case in three months.
Anne could have been fined up to $4,000, jailed for up to four years, or both.