Killer nanny gets death sentence in fatal 2017 fire

Asia News Network (ANN)

2018-02-12 11:01 GMT+8

BEIJING (China Daily/ANN) - The nanny convicted of starting a fire that claimed the lives of three children and their mother in a high-profile 2017 case that shocked the nation was given the death penalty on Friday.

Mo Huanjing was sentenced to death by a first instance judgment at Hangzhou Intermediate People’s Court. She was tried earlier this month and also was convicted of theft charges.

The verdict ruled that Mo, 35, who was burdened with heavy gambling debts, sought nanny jobs in 2015 to pay her debtors. In September 2016, Mo, through an agent, obtained a live-in nanny job at the home of Zhu Xiaozhen and Lin Shengbin in Hangzhou, Zhejiang province.

Between March and June, Mo stole gold jewelry and watches, then pawned them for over 180,000 yuan ($28,500).

On the night of June 21, Mo lost 60,000 yuan by gambling. To raise more money, she decided to win over Zhu’s gratitude by starting a fire at the home and extinguishing it, the verdict said.

Between 2 am and 4 am on June 22, Mo searched the web on her mobile phone on how to set a fire. Around 5 am, Mo ignited books with a lighter. The fire spread to sofas and curtains in the living room, leading to Zhu’s death and those of her three children, ages 6, 9 and 11. The cause of death was carbon monoxide inhalation.

“The past 200-plus days have been such a torment for me and today the verdict finally came,” Lin, the family’s only survivor, said on Friday after the court ruling.

“Today’s sentence is within my expectation,” he said. “However, as for me, Mo’s death penalty is far from redeeming her crime.”

The court said despite Mo’s confession during her arrest, she was not entitled to a lighter punishment.

Lin said he next will consider starting a civil lawsuit against related parties who bear responsibility.

The court verdict said firefighters took proper measures after receiving the fire report, but loopholes in fire safety at the residential compound and a malfunctioning firefighting water supply delayed their rescue.

Mo did not appeal in court on Friday, according to local media reports. In China, all death sentences need to be submitted to the Supreme People’s Court — the top court — for final reviews before being executed. 

by Ma Zhenhua

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