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Woman sentenced to 4 1/2 years for breaking babies' legs

62 Comments

A Tochigi court on Wednesday sentenced a 30-year-old woman to 4 1/2 years in prison after she was found guilty of breaking the legs of four babies. The sentence was handed down at the Ashikaga branch of the Utsunomiya District Court.

The court heard that Yuko Saotome approached mothers in children's goods stores and other public places, asking to hold their children and then surreptitiously broke their legs, NTV reported. According to police, the incidents took place between April and May 2010.

The court said that Saotome could not be excused of her crimes on the grounds of temporary insanity. The judge went on to describe her actions as "despicable" and added that the crimes were motivated by jealousy at seeing happy mothers.

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62 Comments
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Only 4 and half years? Oh that was just a slap on the wrist. She'll have 3 meals a day and quiet accommodations all at the taxpayers expense. Furthermore, they'll probably allow her a suspended sentence if she behaves properly.

It's so interesting that such women are defended by society and given good credit automatically for being a woman.

6 ( +12 / -6 )

Only? Should have been given much much more.

6 ( +6 / -0 )

better put her in solitary confinement else her legs will be broken too by her jailmates.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

It should have been a snap of her legs, not a slap on the wrist. I hope she gets what is coming for her, but in Japanese prisons, I doubt it.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Only four and half years? Should be at least ten. It's not like she's going to get out of jail at 34 years of age and suddenly see a happy mother and not try to do the same thing. Hell, probably wouldn't change at 40, either, but at least she'd have more time to sit and realize that... hey... maybe breaking a helpless baby's legs isn't the answer to my personal problems!

1 ( +2 / -1 )

No mention of any psychiatric treatment, of course! Under the rug! SOP!

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Disgusting! I bet the parents involved feel sick to their stomachs. Obviously this 'person' is ill but she had it about her to approach the mothers and do this. Premeditated in my books. And no way am I laying blame at the mothers's concerned but I'd never let anyone I don't know hold my baby. The only exception would be in an absolute emergency. When the twins were babies, folk flocked around the double buggy asking to pick them up, touching them. I mean, it didn't enter my head that some sick person wanted to break my child's legs BUT.. no way was a stranger going to pick up and hug my child.

I hope the babies are healed and well. The parents too.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

The court said that Saotome could not be excused of her crimes on the grounds of temporary insanity.

She went insane on 4 separate occasions?? And broke the legs of the babies! She is pure evil

This women should be put away for a long, long time.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Yet again the judges showing just how out of touch they are with society. This monster deserved minimum 15 years. As she is a child abuser, I also hope she has a permanent restraining order not to approach within 100m of any child. Let's all hope the poor babies suffered no permanent damage by these cowardly acts.

2 ( +3 / -1 )

The court said that Saotome could not be excused of her crimes on the grounds of temporary insanity. The judge went on to describe her actions as “despicable” and added that the crimes were motivated by jealousy at seeing happy mothers.

So, you remember not to do that again when you get out in four and a half years, okay?

1 ( +1 / -0 )

Ouch. This article broke my heart.

4 1/2 years for breaking four babies' legs? What's wrong with the judge? If I were at the scene, I could have done something real unpleasant to that woman, and not regret a thing after seeing babies crying because of this woman's insane nature.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

No doubt the hottest seat in hell will be reserved for this animal

1 ( +3 / -2 )

I would say she is more mentally ill than evil, as some of you seem to think. Dangerous, certainly, but in need of serious help (since long before her crimes).

0 ( +1 / -1 )

If I were the judge (Miyasaki Yasuko), I would have given this woman at least 10 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Japan is even more lenient than Norway. Whodda thunk.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

Are there still prisons for the criminally insane? Because that 's where she belongs and for life, not just four lousy years.

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Monstrous.

It should be 4.5 years per victim. This is some truly heinous behavior.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

This kind of crime just shows what a fractured society Japan is.

1 ( +4 / -3 )

She denied it too, so some of that sentence is for perjury?

0 ( +3 / -3 )

How about breaking her legs, letting her cry a little and then getting medical care because this is EXACTLY what happened to those poor babies. 4.5 years? The judge should hang his head in shame.

1 ( +3 / -2 )

A Frontal Lobotomy will fix this psycho for good!

0 ( +3 / -3 )

a Frontal Lobotomy will fix this psycho for good.

0 ( +3 / -3 )

I remember this happening, and I had a young baby at the time. It was heartbreaking. Yes, she may be ill, but it takes a special kind of ill and a special kind of evil to do this to a young baby. Not everyone who commits violent crime is ill - sadly some people simply are just evil.

4 1/2 years? Please just put her in a room with me. I would only need 4 1/2 minutes.

The only thing I can hope for is that not only does she get 4 1/2 years in jail but everyone knows her name, who she is, she will never be able to return to her home town, hopefully everyone will have had the decency to ostracize her and the consequences of her actions will last long into the future.

I dont even want to think about her anymore. The two minutes it has taken me to even write a comment about this despicable pice of trash is two minutes out of my life I will never get back. Not gonna waste any more on her.

-1 ( +4 / -6 )

Now imagine: 4.5 years later she would be released, You, the father of one of those kids, discharges 8 bullets on her back, leaving her in a wheelchair. Then gets arrested for 15.

Ridiculous.

3 ( +5 / -2 )

temporary insanity 4 times in a row, yeah right.

This women knew exactly waht she was doing and should be sentenced as the evil person she is 20 years hard labour for this crime.

0 ( +2 / -2 )

That does seem very lenient especialy lacking contrition. I hope that none of the children suffered permanent damage. There seems to be a great deal of sympathy towards mothers and the woman is a single mother. One can see her on youtube at the link below, where she appears to be smiling. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEAr5BfKkm

0 ( +2 / -2 )

I don't even understand why talk of temporary insanity has come up. 4 times indicates a more permanent form of insanity.

I find it hard to imagine that she is not insane. I don't know. Maybe she isn't. But if she is she should be ina mental ward, not a prison. And if she isn't? 4 and a half years might be about right if your goal is punishment aimed at correction. I think most of you here are more interested in vengeance.

1 ( +3 / -1 )

We all have to be very careful, There are lot of mentally deformed are around us, Apparently they looks okay. They do as others...

But unbelievably mentally Sick.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

She is not a criminal. She just happens to have only one chopstick in the Suey.

-5 ( +0 / -5 )

Agree with Triumvere. Should be 4.5 years per victim.

NetNinjaFeb. 02, 2012 - 03:51PM JST

She'll have 3 meals a day and quiet accommodations all at the taxpayers expense.

Uhhhh.... yes NetNinja... that's what prison is all about. But you forgot to mention that she has no freedom... minor detail.

It's so interesting that such women are defended by society and given good credit automatically for being a woman.

Who's defending her??? Where does it say she was given good credit???

0 ( +3 / -3 )

So I should go hit a couple upside the head cause i see them being happy..give me a break, this lady has some deep deep issues. Now she'll really be unhappy..don't think 4 1/2 years is enough either.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I'm horrified by this crime. How on earth does she get just four and a half years? Deserves a whole lot more in my opinion.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

What!? I'm in shock. The judgedescribed her actions as despicable but then she just gets a slap on her hand and she's free to go (after just 4 1/2 years). That's crazy.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Here is a news clip showing Yuko Saotome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEAr5BfKkm8

I don't see how she could have done this four times before getting caught.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

Uhhhh.... yes NetNinja... that's what prison is all about. But you forgot to mention that she has no freedom... minor detail.

Oh no! Three hot meals a day and no freedom for less than 4.5 years because you know she'll get off early. They all do. It should be 4.5 years per kid served on after the other.

-2 ( +1 / -3 )

I can't wait for the usual crowd to comment "Oh, this kind of stuff happens everywhere in every country.

Overall, U.S. residents age 12 or older experienced an estimated 18.7 million violent and property crime victimizations during 2010, down from 20.1 million in 2009.

Do the math.

-1 ( +2 / -3 )

4 and a half years is way too short!! She should have been given at least 10 years.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

"Woman sentenced to ONLY 4 1/2 years for breaking babies' legs"

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I'm with you on that one Piltdown Man. It's hard to believe that it could happen 4 times. Once yes, but after the second time, assuming that both incidents were reported, you would think alarm bells would have started ringing somewhere out there.....

0 ( +1 / -1 )

I understand this post will likely be a contender for most thumbed-down post on JapanToday EVAR! but anyway...

4,5 years is a lot and I think it is appropriate sentencing for the crime. Though it does underline a sick mind, there was no attempt on the babies' lives. I don't know why people think 4,5 years is a short time. It really isn't, maybe it's because the number is low that people mistakenly believe that it's short. Maybe they should say 1642 days in jail, which is what 4 and a half years represent. Some people go on vacation to resorts for 15 days and at the end all they want is to get back home, imagine something 100 times longer and much, much less comfortable. That's a long time to be deprived of freedom and isolated from society.

It seems almost as if people here are boasting of what kind of sentencing they would want to impose. It's like a pissing contest, "I'd give her 10 years!" "I'd give her 15!" "I'd give her 20!" "I would give her 20, but break her legs first!" "Screw prison, I'd beat her to death right there and then!". I guess some people believe the only way to prove that one is righteous is to be as harsh against those who have committed crimes as possible. It actually reminds me of medieval "justice", the same mindset seems to be there.

0 ( +4 / -4 )

@ kchoze

Thanks for the thought-provoking post.

This woman is mentally ill. There's no two ways about it.

I know we all want to believe there are evil people and especially in the case of attacks on innocent kids we want retributive justice but...

The simple fact is that some people are very mentally disturbed... there is almost nothing we can do about it.

This kind of attack and worse will always happen... I hate that fact as much as anybody but there is very little we can do to prevent it...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

@ kchoze - what's the point of having a justice system with sentences as weak as pi$$ like this? I reckon I am like the great majority of society and view violence and attacks against children as the worst type of crime warranting the toughest sentences. I'm sorry - but this woman will be out in a couple of years (she has already been in custody for 2) yet many of the serious, lengthy sentences handed down here - 20 years for example - are reserved for corporate crime. Ripping off some corporation of millions is judged worse than sadistically breaking the legs of 4 defenceless, innocent babies. I think that is perverted - and it certainly is not Japan that is alone in being soft on violence against the weak these days. In my country too - Australia - you are liable to be whipped with a feather for violent crimes against innocent people.

.This woman is mentally ill. There's no two ways about it.

That was her defence argument. It was found to be a complete nonsense. It was pure jealousy and hatred of other's happiness that drove her to these heinous crimes.

-2 ( +0 / -2 )

I had read the headline before a STOP hit hard, I didn't read on, how could an adult do this to an infant, they need to be put away for a much longer time in a psychiatric institution and never allowed the privilege of children ever again.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It was pure jealousy and hatred of other's happiness that drove her to these heinous crimes.

Who is to say that's not mental illness?

Recently I've been wondering... perhaps it's the case that almost all the perpetrators of extreme crimes are mentally ill in some way. Being able to carry out the crime could be a symptom of mental illness...

0 ( +2 / -2 )

Does anyone here think after 4.5 years, when this woman gets out, she will be any less dangerous? Not me.

4 ( +3 / -0 )

Well - agreed to a point there choiwaruoyaji - no-one would say this woman is "normal" . Prisons are houses to a huge percentage of mentally deficient/disturbed/ill people. No argument here. However she was found fit to stand trial. The point is she knew what she was doing was wrong, and continued committing this violence repeatedly. It was not a one-off brain snap - she attacked these babies over the space of 2 months.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Who is to say that's not mental illness?

I don't care whether you lock her in a prison or a mental institution, she is dangerous and needs to disappear.

1 ( +2 / -1 )

It actually reminds me of medieval "justice", the same mindset seems to be there.

Medieval justice was death, and a whole heck of a lot less crime.

This woman should be placed in an institution and treated as a sick person.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

There are a lot of comments here calling this woman "monster", "pure evil", "psycho". All these imply that she did what she did because she is inherently bad - such knee-jerk assumptions don't really help, though.

Yes, what she did is horrible and reprehensible, and I do not imagine any mother/parent would find it in his/her heart to forgive. However, attributing her acts to an underlying evil nature does not really solve the problem of her inflicting pain on people around her. She needs extensive psychiatric help, prison time, and a social group to belong to, not a beating.

I do not advocate no punishment for her, but I am saying that locking up people on the grounds of them being evil is a short-sighted solution. By providing them in addition with mental health care and social support, societies stand a chance of reducing the number of such criminal acts in the long term.

I do not believe there is a unavoidable number of evil people in society who are born that way. Granted, some people may be more impulsive than other genetically, but how they direct such temperament is largely determined by external factors and cannot be entirely blamed on them.

I would say that a lot of people would become "monsters" under the right conditions; commendable if they don't, but not uncommon if they do (cf. a lot of experimental studies in psychology, such as Milgram's and Zimbardo's experiments).

-2 ( +2 / -4 )

Look! These judges, these police, and these people in this country all need to sit down together and figure out what the he'll is wrong with this country. These crimes are senseless. They give people more time for corporate crimes than crimes involving injury or death to another human being. That tells you that this country values money over everything else. These judges are without personality. Whether she is crazy or not she needs to be put away somewhere for longer than 4.5 years so she won't do this again to nobody. Lately I'm hearing about soooo many stupid a$$ crimes. Don't get me wrong, Japan is safe compared to where I come from( south side ChicAgo) but there you know how to avoid the crime. You are aware of " oh if I go to that place, there is a possibility something could happen". I feel safe because nobody is stupid enough or has the guts to even f#€k with me, even back in my hometown. In Japan it just comes out of nowhere, so you don't know how to avoid it. Senseless crimes against the elderly, women, and children is the weakest thing I can think of. This place is full of weak people and something has to be done to make the people of this country aware of what is going on. Nobody cares here. All about money.

-2 ( +3 / -5 )

Its an assault charge and 4.5 year is appropriate in my opinion. I think what disgusts people (including myself) about it, is that the victim was a poor defenseless baby. But had this been an adult then I don't think people would be as emotional about this.

I do agree that she also needs some serious mental evaluation and perhaps spend some time in a mental institution after her sentence.

-1 ( +1 / -2 )

Firstly I wouldn't let a stranger at a shop hold my child, full stop,

3 ( +4 / -1 )

Firstly I wouldn't let a stranger at a shop hold my child, full stop,

totally agree...I was wondering at what point did she break the babies' legs and couldn't any of the mother's stopped her. Did she break the baby's leg and run, and if not why wasn't she arrested after the first incident?

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Even after the full 4 1/2 years, the babies would still be small children, and won't be able to comprehend why this woman broke their legs.

There may be no permanent damage if proper therapy is administered, but there will be telltake signs that bones were once broken.

As I said before, 4 1/2 years is just too short. How many hours and sleepless nights do the parents have to endure, trying to ease the baby's pains, and their own? What kind of damage has this incident done to the mothers, who have seen the woman break their baby's legs right in front of their eyes?

Doing it once may explain a temporary insanity, but on four separate occasions, in two months?

I am no expert in psychology or psychiatry, but does this not show a possibility that the woman finds breaking a baby's legs (pervertly) satisfies her in a way that's not considered "normal"?

-1 ( +0 / -1 )

It's just so weird that someone would do something so horrible. I wonder why she broke their legs and only that? We read about the judgment of four and a half years but nothing as to why she did what she did. Was there a relationship to her own life such as mistreatment as a child? Did someone break her legs when she was a child? The court must have heard her story and of course it's not available for us to read. Harsh comments about this woman should be reserved unless you could have attended the trial and could have know the details of the crimes. I'm sure we all agree that she must have been mentally deranged to do that.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@ Piltdown "Here is a news clip showing Yuko Saotome: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sEAr5BfKkm8

I don't see how she could have done this four times before getting caught."

THANKS FOR THE LINK!

This helps so much when you can see the JN-judicial system in Jaction

0 ( +0 / -0 )

That is only like 4.13 years per baby! That is crazy short. Please tell me she got community service on top of that or something. That is way too lenient. If i was one of the parents i would be throwing the book at her hard.

each parent should be able to break one limb of hers!!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Sad story.

Nicky WashidaFEB. 02, 2012 - 06:15PM JST 4 1/2 years? Please just put her in a room with me. I would only need 4 1/2 minutes.

I always love reading the "tough guy" (or in this case the "tough girl") posts. What do you actually think you'd be able to accomplish? If anything, you'd probably get an a** kicking that you wouldn't soon forget and end up pleading for the cops to come in and pull this crazy lady off you. @@

4 ( +6 / -3 )

this is really sick and pissed me off. why is the law so ridiculous? we all know that normal people would't do such thing... those criminals are all cold blood and heartless... they can kill, hurt other without feeling any guilt. why would the society care? I wish the Death Note existed so all the evils criminals would be sent to hell within seconds.

0 ( +1 / -1 )

Regardless of her mental state, this woman is very dangerous and needs to be kept away from society until she is no longer a threat. My concern is that since an insanity please was not accepted by the court, she will NOT get any help and after four and a half years she will be out free and possibly more miserable than before and probably way more dangerous.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

it should be 4 years for each leg of each baby she injured!

0 ( +1 / -1 )

@adatoi - dont be so pathetic. I was doing what everyone else on her was doing - venting my anger at her. Get over yourself.

-3 ( +2 / -5 )

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