Nanny sentenced to one year in prison with two-year probation for leaving child in elevator causing a fall to death
Published: May 18, 2023 05:28 PM


A nanny who left a 21-month-old child in an elevator causing her to fall to her death was convicted of negligent homicide and sentenced to one year in prison with a two-year probation, a court in Gongshu district in Hangzhou, East China's Zhejiang Province, pronounced on Thursday.

According to the court's verdict, the defendant, Wu Xiufang, had worked as a nanny for many years and was hired on June 8, 2022, to take care of the Chen family's infant daughter, who is the victim in the case. 

At about 8 pm on June 14, 2022, Wu took Chen from the 15th floor of the apartment building to the 1st floor by elevator. When the elevator arrived at the 1st floor, Wu left the elevator first, but when she turned around and found that Chen had not yet left the elevator, she tried to stop the elevator door from closing but failed. Chen cried in the elevator, Wu verbally calmed her outside the elevator, and pressed the elevator button to try to open the elevator door.

The elevator remained at the 1st floor for about 30 seconds before going up, and stopped at the 8th floor, where Chen got out of the elevator and climbed up to the aisle ledge. Moments later, she fell to the 2nd floor platform.

Then, Wu went to the upstairs and also other places to look for Chen, and informed her father about the situation. The girl's father also joined the search, and later found Chen on the 2nd floor platform and sent her to the hospital. Tragically, Chen died on the same day after the resuscitation failed.

Wu was then taken away by the public security authorities for investigation.

The court heard that Wu, as a nanny, had the responsibility to look after the safety and health of the child, but her actions did not fulfill this responsibility, which led to the child being left alone in the elevator and eventually to Chen's death after climbing out of the window. The prosecuting authorities charged Wu with the crime of negligent homicide.

However, the court also pointed out other factors such as the low height of the windowsill of the apartment building's corridor and the lack of protection devices that led to the tragic event. In addition, Wu had attempted to block the closing of the elevator, tried to open of the elevator doors and actively participated in the search afterwards, thus she could be found guilty of a lesser crime. Wu took the initiative to explain the main facts during the investigation by the public, and there was voluntary surrender, leading to a mitigated penalty.

In view of the fact that Wu confessed and repented and has no criminal antecedents, her probation poses no significant adverse impact on the community she lives, so she can be applied to probation, the court explained.

Chen's family told reporters after the sentencing that they will not accept the verdict, and they will definitely appeal, Xiaoxiang Morning News reported on Thursday. 

Global Times