A farmer and father of eight in Battambang province beat his two-day-old daughter to death with a hoe handle last week because he despaired of feeding his family, police said Thursday.
Pram Preum, 42, of Prey Trob village, Prek Norin commune, Ek Phnom district, was arrested and charged with the infant’s death. Chan Kosal, Battambang police chief, said the man’s wife was asleep on her birthing bed, as is customary for several days after a baby is born, and she did not know her husband had killed the girl.
The couple already had seven children, Chan Kosal said, and the family was living in a “slum.”
“He and his family were living in very poor conditions, but he did not try to prevent his wife from getting pregnant again,” said Nil Non, the chief of the Battambang court. “When he had many children, he killed his own child.”
Neighbors, who told police the baby had been healthy, worried when they visited the house and didn’t see the child.
They told the authorities, who found the baby buried in a shallow grave about 15 meters from the house, Nil Non said. He said the father beat the baby twice before she died.
The father tried to cover up the killing, but after police found the grave he confessed and showed them the hoe he used to beat his daughter.
Police said the killing occurred sometime last week.
“He is not insane,” Chan Kosal said Thursday. “But this happened because of the family’s poor economic condition. As I know, he had many children and it was difficult to feed them.”
Battambang police are holding Pram Preum, pending further investigation. The court is investigating the case to gather more evidence and witnesses. The court also will summons the baby’s mother to testify.
“It is a very special case,” Nil Non added. “It is very different from ordinary murder. However, we will not let it go beyond the law.”