TAIWAN: Life imprisonment has been handed down by a Taipei court for a schizophrenic man who decapitated a four-year-old girl on a busy city street in front of her mother.
Wang Ching-yu avoided the death penalty on the basis he has a “mental handicap” despite prosecutors calling for the death penalty because of the “extremely cold-blooded” nature of the crime, reports the AFP.
The murderer was beaten by a mob and arrested in March 2016 after he slashed Liu Yi-jie some 23 times with a kitchen knife as her mother Clare Wang helplessly watched on. Several bystanders were unable to stop the attack before it was too late.
Wang told the court that the killing occurred while he was hallucinating, believing himself to be an emperor from China’s Sichuan province and that murdering the child would bring him concubines to “carry on his family line.” The defendent quoted from Chinese folklore during proceedings.
He was previously arrested in 2006 for drug-related offences but was not under the influence at the time of the crime.
The brutality of the murder has shocked Taiwan and spurred debate about the death penalty for child killers, in a nation where the majority of citizens support capital punishment.
During court proceedings in September, the assailant knelt down in court and pleaded with the victim’s parents. “I’m sorry, I admit I was wrong. I did not mean it, please forgive me,” he said.
“This incident deals a big blow to Taiwan’s society,” said Taiwan’s President Tsai Ing-wen last May.
“Many Taiwanese people are saddened and feel insecure … we should work together so parents don’t have to worry and children can grow up safely.”