Hanoi nannies get prison for killing toddler

By Hai Thu   August 25, 2023 | 02:17 am PT
Hanoi nannies get prison for killing toddler
Nguyen Thi An (R) and Nguyen Thi Lanh stand before the Hanoi People's Court for deadly child abuse, Aug. 28, 2023. Photo by VnExpress/Danh Lam
Two Hanoi kindergarten nannies were sentenced to prison on Friday for abusing a 17-month-old child to death.

Nguyen Thi An, 30, was sentenced to life imprisonment, and Nguyen Thi Lanh, 31, to 20 years by the Hanoi People’s Court on the count of murder. In Vietnamese, An means "peace" and Lanh means "harmless."

The women opened a kindergarten on their own at a rented house in Thuong Tin District in November 2022, the indictment said.

Since the class’s opening until March 1, An and Lanh had taken care of seven children, including a 17-month-old boy nicknamed Bop. On Feb. 2, Bop was taken to the class for the first time, and that same morning, when An and Lanh brought the children to bed, Bop ran outside the door and cried.

Authorities said Lanh was frustrated with the boy's actions, so she brought him in and threw him onto a mattress on the floor. Bop continued to cry, so Lanh screamed at him and slapped him. An witnessed the entire ordeal, but did not do anything. When the boy continued to cry, An used her feet to kick and stomp him in the belly, chest and ears.

At 4:30 p.m. the same day, Bop’s mother came to take him home and saw that her son was bruised. Lanh told the mother that the boy fell into a basket of toys.

On Feb. 26, Lanh was off-work, leaving An to take care of the children. At around 9:30 a.m., when Bop cried, An threw Bop onto the floor and kicked him in the belly, before leaving into the kitchen.

When she returned, she saw that the child had vomited and was unconscious, so she called Lanh and tried to wake the boy up by slapping him and splashing his face with water, but it was not effective. An then called the mother to come to the class and take him to hospital.

Bop died on March 2, five days after coming to his class. Forensic results revealed that the boy died over respiratory failure due to traumatic brain injuries.

An admitted to her crimes, while Lanh only admitted that she unintentionally slipped her fingers, causing the boy to fall onto the floor.

The court said both An and Lanh lacked proper qualifications for education. An said at the trial she opened the kindergarten without seeking approval from authorities, so authorities had requested the facility to be closed down in December 2022.

The mother of the boy said she sent Bop to the class because she trusted the two women who were acquaintances from the same village. On Feb. 26, when An called her at 10 a.m. to come to the class, she saw that her son was soaked in water and his body was cold and unresponsive.

"I couldn’t do anything but cry... I trusted the teachers and saw that they were enthusiastic, so I sent my child to them. I never knew they would do that," the mother said.

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