The Kampong Thom provincial police sent a man to court on March 27 one day after arresting him for allegedly striking and almost beheading his own eight-month-old daughter with a machete on March 25 in Phnov village of Baray district’s Tnort Chum commune.

According to provincial deputy police chief Tith Samnang, the 30-year-old suspect, Heang Soth, admitted to the crime, saying his motive was anger towards his estranged wife and that he did it while he was drunk.

“We sent the suspect to court. We checked him and found no other drugs in his system. He’s not mentally ill, but he is apparently an alcoholic and he acted impulsively out of anger while drunk,” he said.

Commune chief Kong Lim said the eight-month-old girl lived with the suspect’s family in the village.

Citing relatives, the commune chief said the suspect had recently divorced his wife and then brought the girl to his parents to have them care for her.

Soth worked at construction sites and only earned enough to feed himself and got drunk every day. Just prior to the murder at around 9pm on March 25, he was reported by witnesses as being very drunk while holding a machete and threatening his parents with it.

Shortly thereafter, Soth apparently went into the house and opened the mosquito net and attacked his daughter with the machete, cutting deeply into her left cheek. He then jumped into the river and attempted to escape under cover of darkness.

Soth then returned to his own home around 5am on March 26 and was arrested by village police who were staking out his home.

“According to the victim’s grandmother, she put the child to bed under the mosquito net and shortly afterwards the child was nearly beheaded by her father. Relatives took her to Baray District Referral Hospital, but her injuries were too serious and she was pronounced dead on arrival,” Lim said.

Lim said Baray district authorities along with the village and commune authorities brought some money and other assistance to the victim’s funeral to help her bereaved grandparents during this difficult time.