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River Valley High School Student’s Murder Charge Amended To Culpable Homicide, He Faces Life Imprisonment

Teen In River Valley High School Tragedy Has Murder Charge Downgraded To Culpable Homicide

In 2021, news of a 13-year-old from River Valley High School (RVHS) passing away in an axe attack rocked Singapore.

Police later arrested a Secondary 4 student for his alleged involvement in the incident. The then-16-year-old was subsequently charged with murder.

On Friday (24 Feb), the now-18-year-old had his charge downgraded to culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

River Valley High School teen charged with culpable homicide

According to Channel NewsAsia (CNA), the teen, now 18, returned to court on Friday (24 Feb) via a video link from his current remand location.

The teen, whose identity remains anonymous due to a gag order, wore a mask and white shirt. His head was also shaven.

In court, he received an amended charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder.

Singapore Statutes Online explains that culpable homicide is not considered murder when “the offender whilst deprived of the power of self-control by grave and sudden provocation, causes the death of the person who gave the provocation, or causes the death of any other person by mistake or accident”.

However, CNA did not disclose the reason for the downgrade.

Caused death of 13-year-old in River Valley High School toilet

The charge, CNA reports, reads that the tragic incident occurred inside a 4th-floor toilet at River Valley High School on 19 July 2021.


Sometime between 11.16am and 11.44am, the accused, then 16, caused the death of the victim by allegedly using an axe to slash his neck, head, and body.

The charge sheet adds that the teen did this while intending to cause the younger boy’s death.

Source: Shin Min Daily News on Facebook

Shin Min Daily News notes that the prosecution applied for a six-week extension as it still needs additional time to investigate.

Hence, the court has adjourned the case to 6 Apr.

Could face life imprisonment

While a murder charge usually warrants the death penalty, Section 314 of the Criminal Procedure Code states that the court cannot pass this sentence if the accused is under the age of 18 at the time they committed the offence.

Instead, they will receive a life imprisonment sentence.

Should the 18-year-old be convicted of culpable homicide not amounting to murder, he may receive life in prison with caning or up to 20 years’ jail with a fine or caning.

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Featured image adapted from Wikipedia.

Tammi Tan

Tammi loves the colour pink but wears a lot of black. She can often be found enjoying tiny house tours on YouTube or rewatching Christopher Nolan and Marvel films.

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