SINGAPORE: A maid on trial for stabbing her employer to death was convicted on Monday (Apr 6) of a lesser murder charge, and might escape the death penalty.
Indonesian Daryati, now 27, was convicted of one charge of slashing 59-year-old Seow Kim Choo multiple times with the intention of injuring her in a manner sufficient to cause death.
This lesser murder charge under Section 300c was amended on Monday from one with a mandatory death penalty, under Section 300a. The prosecution did not submit any documents detailing the reason for the change.
Prosecutors said they will not be asking for the death penalty, and will be leaving the sentence to the discretion of the court. This means Daryati could get life imprisonment instead.
The judge adjourned the case to a later date after her defence lawyers said they needed time to prepare her mitigation.
A second charge of attempting to murder Madam Seow's husband will be considered in sentencing.
Daryati had gone to trial a year ago over the 2016 incident. She had worked for Madam Seow and her family at her Telok Kurau home for only two months when she became homesick and longed for her lover, who was in Hong Kong.
Despite being treated well by the employer's family, she wanted to return to Indonesia and start a business as she had financial problems back home.
She wrote in her diary on May 12, 2016: "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 and run smoothly. My employer's family is my target. DEATH!!!"
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Daryati roped the family's other helper, 27-year-old Don Hayati, into the scheme to retrieve passports from a locked safe, but did not tell her about the murder she planned.
Daryati hid weapons around the house before carrying out her plan on Jun 7, 2016.
She uttered a code word to Don Hayati before confronting Madam Seow in her bedroom while brandishing a knife and asking for her passport.
When the older woman screamed, Daryati dragged her into a toilet and closed the door before slashing and stabbing her neck, head and face repeatedly.
Mdm Seow's husband, Mr Ong Thiam Soon, called for his wife but did not receive a response.
He peered into the toilet through a gap at the bottom of the door and saw blood on the floor.
When he used a screwdriver to open the toilet door, Daryati attacked him while armed with two knives.
READ: Telok Kurau murder trial: Maid accused of killing employer gave police statement 'under oppression', defence claims
EMPLOYER'S HUSBAND OVERPOWERS HER
Despite being stabbed in the neck, Mr Ong managed to overpower Daryati and dragged her out of the toilet.
He bound her hands with cable ties and took her to the main gate, while a family member called for an ambulance.
Daryati was arrested and taken to hospital, along with Mr Ong.
An autopsy report found at least 75 stab and incised wounds on Mdm Seow's face, scalp and neck, and 19 incised and stab wounds on her left arm.
The cause of death was found to be multiple incised and stab wounds to the head and neck, which resulted in massive bleeding.
A further report stated that considerable amounts of force were used in inflicting at least three of the stab wounds to Mdm Seow's face.
A psychiatric report from the Institute of Mental Health found that Daryati had been suffering from adjustment disorder in the two weeks leading up to the murder.
For committing murder under Section 300c, Daryati could be sentenced to death or life imprisonment. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.