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Maid claims trial to employer's murder, allegedly stabbed and cut her nearly 100 times

Maid claims trial to employer's murder, allegedly stabbed and cut her nearly 100 times

Mr Ong Thiam Soon (in grey), the husband of the victim, Mdm Seow Kim Choo, and one of their two sons, Mr Ong Wei Yang, at the wake. (Photo: TODAY/Robin Choo)

SINGAPORE: A maid accused of murdering her employer by stabbing and cutting her nearly 100 times allegedly planned the deed weeks earlier, writing in her diary that she had to "be brave" and carry out her plan quickly.

Indonesian national Daryati, now 26, had been working for her 59-year-old employer Madam Seow Kim Choo at her home in Telok Kurau for only two months in 2016 when she allegedly killed her as she was homesick and longing for her lover in Hong Kong.

She earned S$580 a month, including S$80 as compensation for not having days off. Daryati split her duties, such as cooking, cleaning and doing laundry for some family members, with another Indonesian maid.

On May 12, 2016, almost a month after she started working for her Singaporean employers, Daryati allegedly wrote in her diary: "I must carry out this plan quickly. I have to be brave even though life is at stake. I am ready to face all risks/consequences, whatever the risk, I must be ready to accept it. I hope that this plan succeed (sic) and run smoothly. My employer's family is my target. DEATH!!!"

Daryati, who claimed trial on Tuesday (Apr 23) to a single charge of murder punishable by death, planned to get her passport, which was locked in a safe, and steal money for her return to Indonesia, the prosecution claimed.

She purportedly told the family's other domestic helper, 27-year-old Don Hayati, about her plan of stealing money from Mdm Seow and going back to her country.


She asked Don Hayati to help her in her scheme to get both their passports, without telling her about the alleged murder, by asking Don Hayati to distract Mdm Seow's husband, Mr Ong Thiam Soon.

She told Don Hayati that she would give the code word "jaga bawah", which means "watch below", to kick-start the plan. Don Hayati would then distract Mr Ong and turn off the closed-circuit television cameras and electricity supply in the house.

While Mr Ong was busy trying to restart the power supply, the two maids would steal cash from an office on the first floor of the house, said the prosecution, led by Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng.

Daryati drew a map of the three-storey house in her diary on Jun 2, 2016, plotting a path to take to get her passport and escape. She then allegedly hid weapons around the second floor of the house, concealing a Kukri knife in the walk-in wardrobe area of the master bedroom, a hammer next to a study table and a short knife in a basket under the sink of the toilet in the master bedroom.

The prosecution claims that Daryati intended to attack Mdm Seow with the knives, while the hammer was to hit Mdm Seow's daughter-in-law with if she came down to the second floor.

Daryati carried out her alleged plan on Jun 7, 2016. After making sure that Mdm Seow's brother was counting cash in the office on the first floor, Daryati waited for the man to leave along with Mdm Seow's two sons.

At about 8pm, she hid a knife in her pants and went up to the master bedroom holding a pair of Mdm Seow's ironed pants, while uttering the code word "jaga bawah" to Don Hayati.

Mdm Seow was alone in her bedroom when Daryati entered. The maid passed her the ironed pants in the walk-in wardrobe and took out the knife from her own pants.

Pointing the knife at Mdm Seow, Daryati demanded that her passport be returned to her, but the older woman shouted.


Daryati then dragged her into the attached toilet and closed the door, before slashing and stabbing her neck, head and face repeatedly until Mdm Seow collapsed on the floor, claimed the prosecution.

After this, Daryati allegedly took the short knife she had hidden under the sink in the toilet and squatted beside her employer to make sure she was dead.

When Mdm Seow tried to pull herself up, Daryati stabbed her again multiple times on her neck until she lay motionless, prosecutors said. According to her own statement to the police later, Daryati knew that "any person will die if they are stabbed so many times".

Amid the commotion, Mdm Seow's husband came to the master bedroom and called for his wife. When nobody answered, he grew worried and used a screwdriver to open the toilet door, which Daryati had locked.

Once the door was open, Daryati is said to have attacked Mr Ong with a knife, but he managed to disarm her, throwing the knife aside and pushing her to the ground.

However, she retrieved the knife and allegedly stabbed him again on the neck while he was checking on his wife.

Mr Ong then restrained Daryati and took her out of the toilet, while his daughter-in-law called for an ambulance.

Paramedics arrived and found Mdm Seow in the toilet, which was "a bloodied mess", prosecutors said. They pronounced her dead at 9.03pm.

According to an autopsy report, there were 78 incised and stab wounds on Mdm Seow's head and neck, one stab wound on her abdomen, and 19 incised and stab wounds on her left upper limb, with multiple facial fractures in her skull.

The prosecution will call the forensic pathologist who prepared the report to the stand in order to testify that Mdm Seow died from the multiple wounds to her head and neck, which resulted in massive bleeding.


According to the prosecution's first witness, Senior Station Inspector Roslan Ahmat from Marine Parade Neighbourhood Police Centre, Daryati was sitting on the front porch when he arrived at the scene at 8.55pm. 

Mr Roslan, who was the first police officer on the scene, heard shouting and crying and saw Daryati with a "bloodied" face. Her hands were restrained with a cable tie, he told the court.

According to him, Daryati "spoke softly and replied in Bahasa Indonesia", saying she was assaulted by her female employer as the latter was unhappy with the way she had ironed the clothes.

Daryati claimed that her employer took a knife from under the bed and attacked her, pushing her head in the sink. She then asked Mr Roslan to help her.

She was taken to a hospital. A psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health found that she had been suffering from adjustment disorder in the two weeks leading up to the time of Mdm Seow's death, but this did not amount to a major mental disorder, and she was assessed as fit to stand trial.

On Tuesday, the first day of the trial, Daryati sat in the dock with shorn hair and in her purple prison outfit, listening to proceedings through a Bahasa Indonesia interpreter.

She is represented by lawyer Mohamed Muzammil, who was appointed by the Indonesian embassy.

The trial will resume in August. 

If found guilty of murder with the intention of causing death, she faces the death penalty.

A second charge of attempted murder of Mr Ong has been stood down.

Source: CNA/ll(cy)


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