Singapore

Maid convicted of abusing elderly woman with dementia

Maid convicted of abusing elderly woman with dementia
Channel NewsAsia file photo
Sulikah, 27, apologised; said that she had not been told about the woman’s illness before starting work and was never given a day off
Published: 12:35 AM, June 30, 2016
Updated: 9:06 AM, June 30, 2016

SINGAPORE — Noticing bruises on their wheelchair-bound mother’s eye and hand, they decided to review footage of a camera installed in her Ang Mo Kio flat to investigate. 

To their horror, the footage showed the family maid — 27-year-old Sulikah — abusing their mother on multiple occasions over a 24-day period. 

Sulikah, who goes by a single name like many Indonesians, pleaded guilty to 10 charges of hurting 93-year-old Ng Yian Yeo on Wednesday (June 29). Another 19 charges will taken into consideration during sentencing. 

A medical report tendered before the court stated that Mdm Ng suffers from dementia, and has trouble recalling recent conversations and events. As a result, she is is dependent on others for day-to-day care.

Sulikah was hired to be her caretaker and started work in February 2014. In her mitigation, the maid said that she had been left in the dark about the old woman’s illness. Neither the agency nor the family had told her about Mdm Ng’s dementia, and she was never given a day off.

The physical abuse began early last year, and she was later told off by Mdm Ng’s children for being rough with their mother. But frustration got the better of her, and the abuse started all over again.

On Jan 17 this year, Sulikah grabbed Mdm Ng by the hair and yanked her up into a sitting position on the bed, after changing her diapers in the morning. She used her hand to smack Mdm Ng’s head several times, before lifting her off the bed and dropping her roughly onto a bedside chair. And as she changed the bed sheets later, she continued to shove the old woman’s head. 

On other occasions, she slapped Mdm Ng’s face after serving her food or water. 

Slapping, pinching, shoving and kicking — such abuse became routine, taking place over 29 separate occasions in January and February this year.

On Feb 10, Mdm Ng’s two daughters decided to review footage from a closed circuit television camera installed in the flat’s living room. Her son lodged a police report the following day, after realising that Mdm Ng had been assaulted. 

A doctor noted that the victim had bruises on her left eye and right thumb, and there was swelling on her right wrist and thumb and left foot. 

Deputy Public Prosecutor Kong Kuek Foo called for a 24-month jail term, arguing that Sulikah had abused the trust placed in her, instead of discharging her duties as a caregiver. 

He said: “The 93-year-old victim was suffering from advanced dementia, chair-bound and alone at home with the accused. (She) is a vulnerable victim, defence-less against the accused. Given her condition, she was unable to report the abuses suffered.”

Appearing in court unrepresented, Sulikah apologised to Mdm Ng and her children. “I’m very sorry for all my offences during my employment... I have taken care of the victim badly,” she said. 

The case has been adjourned till July 13.