Man Who Kicked 4YO Daughter Who Later Died Acquitted of Murder

Muhammad Salihin Ismail, who was on trial for the murder of his four-year-old stepdaughter, was acquitted of the death penalty and convicted of voluntarily causing grievous hurt on 1 March 2022.

On 1 September 2018, the stepfather had been accused of killing the girl through two series of attacks, where he hit her multiple times in the abdomen and then kicked her in the stomach forcefully as she lay on the floor.

The girl died the next day from internal bleeding within her peritoneal cavity due to blunt force trauma in the abdomen.

Background Before the Incident

Muhammad Salihin Ismail married Syabilla Syamien Riyadi in August 2016 when the girl was just two years old.

Besides the girl, the couple later had twin boys and a fourth child, whose gender was not disclosed.

According to the previous court hearings, the married couple had been trying to toilet-train the victim in preparation for school.

From Syabilla’s oral testimony in 2018, the toilet training had been a work in progress for some time, and it wasn’t the first time the victim had urinated on the floor.

She stated that her husband was “okay” when the girl urinated on the floor, but he would get angry if she did so outside the confines of the toilet.

Syabilla also claimed that Salihin treated the victim “like his own daughter”.

On the day of the incident, the couple had been arguing about Syabilla reaching home late via text messages.

The Two Assaults on The Girl

In Justice Pang Khang Chau’s verdict, he stated there were two incidents where the girl urinated on the floor that day which made Salihin very angry at the girl.

After the first incident, Salihin reacted by carrying the victim to the toilet bowl and used his fist or knuckles to hold her in place on the toilet seat.

Towards this, the prosecution argued that while she was seated on the toilet bowl, Salihin had hit her stomach a few times with his fist.

For the second incident, Salihin had allegedly pushed her to the ground in front of the toilet bowl after she urinated on the floor again, before kicking her stomach forcefully.

When the girl started crying, Salihin purportedly picked her up and put her on the toilet bowl, where he previously hit her.

After Salihin was arrested, he admitted to the police that he had intentionally inflicted those blunt force injuries and targeted her stomach because he wanted to “teach her a lesson” for “having so much problem peeing or passing motion”.

After The Assaults

When Syabilla returned home that evening, she noted that her daughter looked “pale” and was “perspiring a bit”.

Before her daughter collapsed, she hadn’t asked Salihin what happened before she returned home, and the fact that the girl had urinated on the floor was just conveyed briefly through a short message in their text conversation.

Syabilla hadn’t known about the violence that had occurred until after her daughter’s demise and when the investigations were ongoing.

During dinner that night, the girl only managed to consume the third mouth of chicken rice before she complained to Syabilla, telling her that her stomach was in pain. 

The stomach-ache continued to worsen throughout the evening. The girl not only lost her appetite for food, but she also started to vomit.

When she threw up on the sofa, Salihin and Syabilla proceeded to apply ointment on her stomach, though to little effect, as she continued to vomit periodically through the night.

Early the next morning, Syabilla was woken up by her daughter calling out to Salihin, saying that her stomach was still in pain, and she wanted to vomit again.

When the girl was asked what happened by her mother, she said that twins sat on her stomach and showed her a balled-up fist.

According to Syabilla’s account, she had assumed that the girl was trying to imply she had been punched, so she asked if her husband had laid her hand on her, but the girl said no.

That was the last time Syabilla saw her daughter alive.

After Salihin brought the girl to the toilet, he came out later carrying her unconscious body and said that their daughter was no longer breathing. He told Syabilla to call the ambulance.

While they were waiting for medical assistance to arrive, Salihin began to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the girl, which involved pressing down on her stomach slightly. When she didn’t respond, Salihin slapped her face in an attempt to wake her up.

The victim was taken to the hospital afterwards and pronounced dead at 10:12am on 2 September 2018.

The cause of death was blood within her peritoneal cavity due to blunt-force trauma to her abdomen. From the autopsy report, the examination of her injuries was consistent with the “non-accidental injuries on a young child”.

Join our Telegram channel for more entertaining and informative articles at or download the Goody Feed app here:

The Judge’s Verdict on Salihin’s Intentions

Concerning the first incident, Justice Pang accepted the accused’s evidence that he hadn’t punched her. Rather, he was merely using his fist to stop her from getting off the toilet seat.

Justice Pang continued to state that in order for a murder charge to stand, the prosecution had to prove four factors:

  1. The presence of a bodily injury
  2. The nature of the injury
  3. Deliberate intent to inflict the injury
  4. The injury must be sufficiently fatal in the ordinary course of nature

The judge found that the first, second and fourth factors were proven.

The third factor, however, was not satisfied.

From Salihin’s own account, he had been reacting out of anger during the second incident.

He had pushed the girl to the ground by the shoulder and “simply kicked what was in front of him, which happened to be the victim’s abdomen,” said the judge.

Justice Pang adds, “The accused’s action when applying ointment on the victim’s abdomen after she complained of stomach ache corroborates that the accused did not know where his second kick landed.”

Therefore, even though Salihin had kicked the victim intentionally, he had no intention of striking the part of the abdomen where the injury was found, nor was there any intention to kick with excessive force, such that it would cause such a fatal injury.

To put it in simpler terms, in the eyes of the law, “deliberate intent” requires the accused to have premeditated or planned to carry out the attack in a specific manner which they would have known would be fatal to the victim.

Since Salihin’s actions had been fuelled by anger and impulse, and hadn’t planned to kick the area where her peritoneal cavity was with a huge amount of force, the third criterion was not met.

Other Contributing Events

Besides the kick to her abdomen, Justice Pang declared that there were three other events that contributed to the severity of her injury.

The first was one of the victim’s twin brothers jumping on her stomach.

According to Syabilla’s testimony, her twin boys tended to get “rough” whenever they were playing around.

Her twin boys weighed around 15 kilogram around the time of the incident and they liked to sit on her stomach when she was pregnant with her fourth child and even bounce on it.

There were also two previous instances where she saw her boys sitting on her daughter.

On the first occasion, the twins had been bouncing on the victim’s stomach until their mother screamed at them to stop, and on the second occasion, the victim had shouted for them to stop herself.

After those incidents, Syabilla didn’t think there was any need to take the girl to the doctor because the girl hadn’t said anything, so Syabilla “thought she was okay”.

However, it became apparent that the twins never stopped sitting on their older sister’s stomach. 

When the prosecutor asked if the girl ever complained to Syabilla again about her brothers’ actions afterwards, the mother admitted that she did, but she ignored her.

The second contributing factor was the pressure that was caused by her constant vomiting

The third was Salihin’s attempt to perform cardiopulmonary resuscitation (CPR) on the girl after she collapsed around 8am.

According to the two attending paramedics who had been questioned by the defence, it was dangerous for an adult to perform CPR on a child.

While it was difficult to determine the extent in which these events contributed to the victim’s injury, the injuries observed on the victim could be a combination of these events and not just the harm inflicted by Salihin.

Final Conclusion

However, after looking through the medical evidence in its totality, Justice Pang was convinced that the weight of the contributory effect of the three events was negligible.

Hence, Muhammad Salihin Ismail was convicted of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

Salihin is scheduled to return to court for his sentencing later this March, after the prosecution and defence requested a three-week adjournment to make additional submissions.

The penalty for voluntarily causing grievous hurt is imprisonment for up to 10 years and a fine or canning.

Besides the fatal incident, Salihin faces two more charges which have been put aside for now.

The first is, for placing a showerhead with flowing hot water on the girl’s back in 2017 which left scalding marks on her.

The second is for slamming her head against the floor in early 2018. 

If that’s how a daughter is treated, then it’s better if he didn’t have a daughter at all…

To the girl who passed too early, may you rest in peace.

Read Also:

Featured Image: Shutterstock / Kumpol Vashiraaskorn