Police charged a 49-year-old woman for negligent homicide

Tashi Dema

The Office of the Attorney General (OAG) is reviewing a murder case where a couple was detained for alleged murder of a 76-year-old woman on the evening of January 23. The Zhemgang police forwarded the case.

The couple, aged 49 and 60, from Tshaidang village of Nangkhor gewog were detained on January 24 after a relative reported the case to police.

It was alleged that the 49-year-old woman pushed her 76-year-old mother after arguing over the mother burning pepper on an aluminium pot lid.

The investigation report stated that after pushing the mother, who fell on her back, the daughter went to feed the cattle and tether it. “When she returned, she found the mother in the same position where she fell down.”

The daughter then called the mother’s name but found her mother not responding. She then took the body and put it in bed and covered it with a quilt.

When the daughter’s husband returned from work, he checked the mother after the wife told him about the incident but he found the body had become cold. “Instead of reporting the matter to anyone, they closed the main door and went to attend a neighbour’s ritual,” the report stated.

A neighbour, who was tethering cattle near their house, heard the couple calling the mother’s name several times and alerted the relatives later. She claimed that she couldn’t go and check what happened immediately, as the daughter had strangulated her in a previous incident.

The daughter, who had a history of physically assaulting neighbours, told police that she did not intend to murder her mother but could not tell anyone about the incident, fearing her brothers might beat her.

It was learnt that the mother was under medication for mental illness.

Police charged the daughter for negligent homicide as per section 144 of the Penal Code of Bhutan, which states, “A defendant shall be guilty of the offence of negligent homicide, if the death is a result of the defendant’s negligence.”

She was also charged for tampering of a dead body and failing to report the crime. The husband was charged for failing to report the crime.

OAG will review the case and frame charges.