Hong Kong mother blamed for fire that killed her daughter

Other News Materials 3 April 2008 08:02 (UTC +04:00)

(dpa) - A Hong Kong mother who started a fire that killed her daughter is to be detained indefinitely in a psychiatric unit, a court report said Thursday.

A jury decided 47-year-old Ng Mei-lan, diagnosed as a schizophrenic, was unfit to plea or stand trial but ruled she had begun the fire in May 2007.

The court heard that the fire started on the bottom level of bunk beds, which the woman shared with her 22-year-old daughter. Her daughter was believed to be in the top bunk at the time.

Neighbours claimed they heard the daughter pleading with her mother to open the bedroom door as the fire engulfed the room.

Ng survived after being rescued by firefighters, but her daughter died after suffering burns over 85 per cent of her body, the South China Morning Post reported.

At the hearing Wednesday, the court heard that since the fire, Ng had lived with the illusion that her daughter was still alive.

In a letter to the police she had written: "My daughter is definitely alive and safe. I demand the police stop making a mystery of the event and release me."

The judge decided it was in Ng's own interest and that of the public to place her in the care of a psychiatric centre indefinitely.