Senseless murders

What drives children to kill parents who gave them life


Respecting one's parents and taking care of them is a religious obligation binding every Muslim, who according to the Holy Qur'an is not supposed to even utter the word "uff", implying annoyance, in front of them.

Saudi Gazette report

PARRICIDE, though exceedingly rare, is unfortunately becoming more common in Saudi Arabia. A number of terrific crimes against parents and other close relatives have taken place in the Kingdom lately, sending shock waves across the country and drawing condemnation from both Saudis and expatriates.

A 30-year-old man recently shot dead his mother, apparently under the influence of drugs. In October last year, a 28-year-old man in Taif killed his elderly parents. The man stabbed them to death and mutilated their bodies. Makkah police arrested the man, who was a confirmed drug addict with a criminal record and was previously admitted to a mental health hospital for treatment.

Only a few days later, a 30-year-old university teacher shocked the people of Makkah by killing his father and sister and seriously wounding his mother at their home in the Shouqiya area of the holy city. Investigations revealed that the man had an acute mental illness.

A Saudi national surrendered before the police after he killed his wife in Jeddah about a year ago. The 29-year-old husband shot his wife dead in fit of rage during a heated argument. The incident occurred in the district of Al-Muntazahat. The man was arrested and referred to the Bureau of Investigation and Public Prosecution.

This was the second time a Saudi killed his wife in the same neighborhood of Jeddah. Three years ago, a man stabbed his second wife six times which caused her death instantly. The man had also killed his father-in-law, stabbing him three times, following a heated argument near a fuel station on the Al-Haramain Expressway.

In September 2015, a 20-year-old teenager in the Northern Border Province killed his parents as well as a brother and sister. He was arrested by police in Turaif. A psychiatrist who examined the young man opined that he posed a big threat to public security.

In July 2016, a number of disgusting attacks against parents took place. In Al-Hamra district of Riyadh, twin brothers stabbed their elderly mother to death after dragging her to a storeroom. They also attacked their father and brother, who sustained serious injuries. Police arrested the duo while they were trying to escape to a farm in Al-Kharj.

In the same month, another sad incident took place in Khulais when a mentally ill teenager stabbed his 50-year-old mother to death. A year earlier, a wanted young man shot dead his father and wounded two policemen who raided his hideout in Khamis Mushayt.

The man was killed later in a gun battle with security officers. Maj. Gen. Mansour Al-Turki, spokesman for the Interior Ministry, said the man was wanted for terrorism related cases.

A 40-year-old man gunned down his mother in Badr district of Riyadh in February 2016. Another horrendous incident occurred in Yutma village, 75 km south of Madinah, when a 16-year-old boy shot dead his father while the latter was asleep.

On Tarut Island in the Eastern Province, a man poured gasoline on his parents and locked them inside their house and before setting it on fire. The father died of burns while the mother has been bed-ridden ever since. The perpetrator was executed after a court sentenced him to death for premeditated murder.

The killer's brother had testified that the man carried out the crime deliberately and after careful planning. His sister said he committed the crime after making sure she and their brother were away from home.

Giving the details of the crime, the woman said her brother tied their father and beat him until he fell unconscious. He tried to tie up his mother as well but was unsuccessful. He then poured gasoline on them and around the house, and set it on fire. He escaped after locking his parents inside the burning house.

The woman said their father burned to death inside the house while their mother was taken to hospital with second-degree burns.

“Our bed-ridden mother is still asking about her son who tried to kill her. She wants to know whether he was out of trouble,” said the sister, tears flowing down her cheeks.

In July 2014, a teenager killed his 60-year-old father at a Yanbu office following a quarrel between them.

In November 2013, a young man stabbed his 70-year-old father to death in front of a mosque in Khamis Mushayt.

In May 2015, a teenager was arrested in Jeddah’s Balad district for killing his mother with a sharp object. Police found the slain woman's body at her house and arrested her 27-year-old son in Makkah, where he had gone to perform Umrah after committing the horrible crime.

These seemingly senseless murders take place in a country, which is the cradle of Islam, despite the fact that the religion forbids children from expressing even the slightest disgust toward their parents.

Respecting one's parents and taking care of them is a religious obligation binding every Muslim, who according to the Holy Qur'an is not supposed to even utter the word "uff", implying annoyance, in front of them.

According to criminologists, in most parent-homicide cases, the offenders are of four types — a severely abused child, a severely mentally ill child, a dangerously anti-social child and an enraged child. The categories apply both to adults who kill their parents and juveniles who do so.

Severely abused children may kill not out of retaliation, but out of fear or desperation for their own lives or the life of another family member, or out of a desperate sense that killing is the only way out of an abusive situation.

In cases of severe mental illness, offenders typically have a formal diagnosis of mental illness, a loose relationship to reality and may often engage in delusional thinking, believing, for instance, that the devil is speaking to them or directing their actions. Offenders of this type who kill their parents are most often adults.

The dangerously anti-social offender, on the other hand, kills a parent or parents out of intensely selfish motivations, including money.

Enraged offenders kill because of pure rage, possibly borne from abuse or neglect, or from other factors such as the sudden imposition of limitations, or a sharp removal of financial or other types of support. In cases of rage, the offender is often, but not always, influenced by drugs or alcohol.

Many people have called for concerted campaigns to raise public awareness against these appalling crimes.

Many citizens who spoke to Al-Hayat newspaper voiced their concern over rising incidents of violence against parents. They expressed their disbelief by saying how people could kill their mothers who gave them birth and fathers who brought them up enduring all sorts of hardship.

"Such criminals should be executed after summary trials because they did not deserve any mercy," one citizen said.