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    Aug 02, 2016

    Belgian pleads guilty to killing son, 5, in condo

    FACING mounting pressure in a battle with his estranged French wife over custody of their young son, a Belgian expatriate suffocated the five-year-old by pressing a cushion on his head, the High Court heard yesterday.

    As banker Philippe Marcel Guy Graffart cradled Keryan's motionless body in his arms, crying, he told him that he loved him and was going to join him.

    The 42-year-old left his Leedon Heights apartment and sped along the Marina Coastal Expressway before deliberately crashing his car into the wall of the tunnel.

    Details surrounding the killing of five-year-old Keryan Gabriel Cedric Graffart at the D'Leedon condominium on Oct 5 last year emerged when Graffart pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, admitting that he had caused the boy's death at his 32nd-storey apartment between 9pm and 10.17pm.

    After his failed suicide attempt, he was taken to Singapore General Hospital with minor injuries, but left the hospital and went to Bukit Timah Neighbourhood Police Centre at about 4.30am on Oct 6.

    When questioned, Graffart revealed that he had tried to kill himself. He then told the officer: "I have done something really bad to my son."

    Police found Keryan's body in the apartment's master bedroom. The boy was pronounced dead at 6.17am.

    An autopsy found bruises and abrasions on the boy's head. Zolpidem, a medication used to treat insomnia, was found in his blood.

    The Belgian, who was the head of fund distribution for the Asia Pacific region with Nordea Bank, was initially charged with murder.

    The charge was downgraded to culpable homicide as he was assessed to be suffering from a major depressive disorder.

    Before Keryan's death, a bitter custody fight had been taking place between his parents, who are now undergoing divorce proceedings.

    The couple separated in 2014 and agreed to joint custody. But a tussle for Keryan arose after his mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in July last year. She wanted to return to France with full custody of the boy.

    Graffart will be sentenced on Aug 22.

    He faces a maximum of 10 years' jail, caning and a fine.