Ap­peal of nanny’s death penalty sen­tence wraps up

De­fen­dant claims fire­fight­ers didn’t try hard enough to ex­tin­guish blaze

China Daily - - CHINA - By CAO YIN caoyin@chi­nadaily.com.cn

The nanny re­spon­si­ble for killing four mem­bers of a fam­ily in an ar­son ap­peared in court in east­ern China on Thurs­day to ap­peal her death sen­tence.

Mo Huan­jing, nanny of the fam­ily of Lin Sheng­bin, pleaded guilty to start­ing the fire. But she said dur­ing the ap­peal at Zhe­jiang High Peo­ple’s Court that “the penalty in the orig­i­nal rul­ing was ex­tremely heavy”.

“The tragedy wasn’t the re­sult I wanted to see,” she added.

She said the ef­forts of fire­fight­ers were flawed. And she con­fessed to her of­fense dur­ing the ini­tial in­ter­ro­gain tion, which could be re­garded as a rea­son to earn a more le­nient sen­tence.

Wu Peng­bin, her lawyer, told China Daily that some fire­fight­ers and em­ploy­ees of the prop­erty man­age­ment depart­ment of Lin’s apart­ment at­tended the hear­ing as wit­nesses at his urg­ing.

“I wanted them to show what they were do­ing at the time to the court, as I, with my client, thought their res­cue at­tempt lacked ur­gency and there was also some­thing wrong with the wa­ter pres­sure in the apart­ment,” he said.

Mo, 35, ex­pressed deep re­morse for her ac­tions and apol­o­gized to Lin’s fam­ily at the end of the hear­ing. She re­quested a le­nient sen­tence court, but added that she would ac­cept the re­sult if the orig­i­nal ver­dict is up­held.

The court said the judg­ment would be an­nounced at a later date.

Mo was sen­tenced to death on Feb 9 at the Hangzhou In­ter­me­di­ate Peo­ple’s Court after in­ten­tion­ally set­ting the fire in Lin’s apart­ment in the city on June 22, 2017, killing Lin’s wife Zhu Xiaochen and their three chil­dren, ages 6, 9 and 11.

She was also con­victed of theft and fined 10,000 yuan ($1,570) at the same time.

The orig­i­nal ver­dict ruled that the de­fen­dant, who was bur­dened with heavy gam­bling debts, sought nanny po­si­tions in 2015 to pay her debtors. In Septem­ber 2016, she ob­tained a live-in nanny job at Lin’s home in Hangzhou.

She stole gold jew­elry and watches from the fam­ily and then pawned them for over 180,000 yuan be­tween March and June last year, it said.

On June 22, she de­cided to win Zhu’s grat­i­tude by light­ing a fire and then ex­tin­guish­ing it to get more money, after hav­ing lost 60,000 yuan from bad bets.

But the fire spread quickly and she es­caped from the home. Zhu and her three chil­dren died of car­bon monox­ide poi­son­ing, it said.

In a state­ment posted by the high court on Thurs­day, Mo said she tried to ex­tin­guish the fire at the time, and had pre­pared buck­ets of wa­ter in ad­vance. She said she knocked on win­dows of the chil­dren’s rooms to wake them up and called po­lice and se­cu­rity guards for help.

But she added that she failed to ex­tin­guish the blaze amid a bout of anx­i­ety, it added.

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