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Singapore

Maid jailed for repeatedly hitting 5-year-old girl with learning difficulties

Maid jailed for repeatedly hitting 5-year-old girl with learning difficulties

File photo of Singapore's State Courts (Photo: Jeremy Long)

SINGAPORE: A maid physically abused her employer's two daughters, aged four and five, repeatedly striking the older child as she practised her writing.

The 27-year-old Myanmar national, who cannot be named due to a gag order, was sentenced to jail on Tuesday (Oct 1) for one year and two months.

She pleaded guilty to six counts of ill-treating a child, with another eight charges taken into consideration.

The maid carried out most of the offences on the older girl, who had been diagnosed with global developmental delay as an infant.

The court heard that the maid was employed by the girls' mother, a 36-year-old woman. As part of her duties, the domestic helper cared for the girls, who were aged around four and five at the time of the offences in April 2018.

The abuse began on Apr 6 last year, while the two girls were doing writing exercises after dinner under the maid's supervision.

The maid, who was doing housework at the same time, got angry with the older girl and vented her frustration on her by slapping the back of her head with her hand and with a broom handle.

She also hit the child's head three times with her handphone and slapped her cheeks.

The maid then turned to the younger girl, who was four years old then, and hit her head with a hard pencil case, a broom handle and a handphone.

The abuse happened again a week later, while the girls were doing their writing exercises. 

While supervising the older girl, the maid grew angry and frustrated, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Lee Wei Liang.

She vented her anger on the girl by hitting her on her head, cheeks and hands at least nine times with a remote control.

The next time the maid felt frustrated with the older girl during her writing exercises on Apr 14, 2018, she struck her with her knuckles, slapped her forcefully on her cheek and hit her at least 34 times with a metal spoon.

Five days after this, the helper was sweeping the floor while the older girl was doing her writing exercises.

As she wanted to sweep the area where the child was sitting, the maid used the broom handle to hit the girl on her face to get her to move out of the way.

She later lost her patience with the child while teaching her how to write and hit her repeatedly on the head with a pencil. She also pushed her head forcefully on the table and rapped her with her knuckles.

Later that month on Apr 23, 2018, the maid prepared dinner for the older girl, but the child did not want to eat the food.

The angered woman pulled the girl's hair to make her look at her food, hit her head and slapped her cheek.

MOTHER CALLS POLICE

The victims' mother called the police last Christmas Eve, saying: "My Myanmar maid beat my baby many times. I caught her doing that on camera."

The older girl was taken to hospital in late April and early May last year. Some injuries were found on her, including an old scar and several bruises on her legs.

Her younger sister was also taken to hospital in May last year but no external injuries were found on her.

The maid told the court through an interpreter on Tuesday that she was very remorseful and regretted her actions. 

She said she had been looking after two children at that time, with one of them being "a bit slow".

She said she was "under stress", which she admitted was "not an excuse", but said the children suffered no serious injuries.

For each charge of ill-treating a child in her care, the maid could have been jailed for up to four years, fined a maximum of S$4,000, or both.

Source: CNA/ll(hm)

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