SINGAPORE: Feeling tired and hoping the baby she was caring for would sleep through the night, a domestic helper fed the baby milk which she had laced with Anarex.
The 32-year-old Indonesian national, who cannot be named due to a gag order protecting the victim's identity, was sentenced to six months' jail on Tuesday (Nov 2).
She pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt by means of a stupefying substance.
The court heard that the maid was employed by the baby's mother, a 33-year-old woman, to take care of the baby and perform household chores.
She worked for the family for about 14 months before the incident, and had no complaints about her employment other than that she felt tired from looking after the baby. She did not tell her employer about her weariness.
At about 8.30pm on Dec 5 last year, the baby's mother told the maid to feed milk to her infant, who was 13 months old at the time.
The maid retrieved the baby's milk bottle from the kitchen, which already contained about 100ml of milk. She then went to her own bedroom to take an Anarex tablet from her cupboard. Anarex is a type of drowsy medication commonly prescribed for fever, flu and pain.
The accused knew that Anarex was a stupefying substance which could cause drowsiness, as she had consumed it herself on previous occasions. She had formed the plan to feed the baby Anarex earlier that evening so the baby would sleep through the night and not require any tending.
The maid placed the Anarex tablet into the baby's milk and fed it to the child. The baby drank about 90ml of the milk and fell asleep after about 20 minutes, and the maid placed her into a cot before returning to the kitchen to wash the milk bottle.
Meanwhile, the baby's cousin spotted something blue and white in the milk bottle and alerted the baby's mother.
She checked and saw the Anarex tablet at the bottom of the bottle. When she asked the accused what the tablet was, the maid lied and said she did not know, as she felt scared.
The baby's mother tasted the tablet and confronted her helper again, and the latter admitted lacing the victim's milk with Anarex and apologised.
The baby's mother called the police. Her child was examined in hospital the next day and found to be in fair condition with stable vital signs.
The prosecutor sought at least six months' jail, noting the premeditation and gross abuse of trust, as the accused had been caring for the victim since she was born.
In mitigation, the maid said she only wanted her baby to rest so she could rest as well. She said she knew what she did was wrong and sought forgiveness and a lighter sentence.
She said it was hard for her since she was remanded, with her father dying in Indonesia. She is also the sole breadwinner of her family after her husband left her, and her mother is in critical care with COVID-19.
The penalties for causing hurt by means of a stupefying substance are a jail term of up to 10 years and a fine or caning.