SINGAPORE: On the morning of Feb 13 last year, Indonesian domestic helper Minah gave the elderly woman she was looking after a massage, assisted her with her shower and helped her settle into a chair.
Just hours later at about 2pm, Minah plunged a knife with a 22cm-long blade into the neck of Madam Tay Quee Lang in the Tampines flat where the elderly woman lived with her husband. The 77-year-old retiree bled to death from the one stab wound.
On Monday (Apr 23), Minah was sentenced to 15 years in jail for killing Madam Tay, after she pleaded guilty to one charge of culpable homicide.
The incident took place just one month after Minah began working for Madam Tay and her husband, Mr Tan Hee Seng, who was out for a medical appointment at the time of the incident.
Mr Tan had employed Minah to look after his wife, who had had a fall and required assistance with basic activities such as eating, showering and moving about.
THE EVENTS THAT LED TO THE STABBING
According to court documents, Minah had just started having her lunch when Madam Tay called out to her.
Minah went to attend to Madam Tay, who then said she did not have a reason for calling out to her.
A short while later, Madam Tay summoned Minah again and scolded her for taking a long time to finish her meal.
As Minah was finishing her lunch, Madam Tay called her a third time, and again complained about the amount of time she was taking to finish her lunch.
An argument ensued and both of them raised their voices at each other.
Minah was washing the dishes when Madam Tay called her a fourth time. This angered Minah. To stop Madam Tay from talking, Minah grabbed a knife from the top drawer of the kitchen counter, court documents show.
According to Minah, Madam Tay was still shouting and nagging even as she approached her with the knife.
When Madam Tay saw the knife, she told the maid she was not afraid of her.
MAID GOT INCREASINGLY AGITATED
As Minah became more agitated, she continued quarrelling with Madam Tay and taking small steps closer to the elderly woman, until the knife was just inches away from Madam Tay’s chest.
When Minah held the knife near Madam Tay’s throat, the elderly woman tried to push the knife away. However, she failed, and Minah forcefully stabbed her.
After the stabbing, Minah washed off the blood from her fingernails and called Madam Tay’s daughter.
A neighbour saw Minah crying and pacing around the living room. He also heard her asking for help.
When the neighbour saw Madam Tay with a knife lodged in her throat, he called the police.
Minah later told the police officers who interviewed her that she had found Madam Tay with the knife embedded in her neck.
Minah could have been sentenced to life imprisonment, or up 20 years in jail.