Maid jailed for abusing 76-year-old bedridden woman, struck her on mouth with alarm clock
SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old domestic worker was jailed 30 weeks, or about seven months, for abusing a 76-year-old bedridden victim.
- Aye Aye Naing jabbed Madam Quek Ah Guat’s face repeatedly and hit her with an alarm clock, among other acts
- The domestic worker said she was stressed and frustrated by Mdm Quek’s daughter
- Mdm Quek flagged the abuse initially but her daughter gave Aye Aye Naing the benefit of the doubt
- But when she installed a closed-circuit television camera in her mother’s bedroom, she realised what was happening
SINGAPORE — A 39-year-old domestic worker was jailed 30 weeks, or about seven months, for abusing her employer's 76-year-old bedridden mother.
Aye Aye Naing, who said she was stressed and frustrated with her employer, jabbed the victim’s face repeatedly by hitting her on the mouth with an alarm clock, and pressing a water bottle on her mouth.
On Monday (Dec 6), the Myanmar national was sentenced after pleading guilty to three charges of voluntarily causing hurt to a vulnerable person last year.
Another similar charge was taken into consideration for sentencing.
The court heard that the victim, Madam Quek Ah Guat, a Malaysian, suffered from spinal problems and arthritis. Closed-circuit television footage of the abuse which was played in court showed her lying in a hospital bed in her daughter’s Yishun Ring Road public housing flat.
Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Selene Yap told the court that Mdm Quek was substantially unable to protect herself from abuse or neglect, and incapable of protecting herself from Aye Aye Naing.
Aye Aye Naing had no issues with her employer who provided her with sufficient food and a proper place to sleep.
The employer also treated her “very well” and was nice to her, but she became stressed and frustrated when the employer scolded her for not doing things in a proper manner, DPP Yap said.
Aye Aye Naing admitted to handling Mdm Quek in a rough fashion for about six to seven months, such as by pulling her by the hair to make her sit and slapping her mouth.
The helper also pulled Mdm Quek by the neck to transfer her from the wheelchair to the bed, and also roughly pulled her by the arms to make her sit up.
Mdm Quek then told her daughter that Aye Aye Naing had been hitting her. When Aye Aye Naing’s employer confronted her, the maid said Mdm Quek had fallen down.
The employer gave her the benefit of the doubt but proceeded to install a CCTV camera in her mother’s bedroom. The camera captured four incidents of abuse over about a month.
ABUSE CAPTURED ON CCTV
On July 31 last year, when Mdm Quek was lying in bed, Aye Aye Naing hit her on the face with a cushion. When the elderly woman moved her own hand to her mouth to protect herself, Aye Aye Naing swatted her hand away, pressed down on her nose and jabbed her face repeatedly.
About two weeks later, Mdm Quek was lying in bed again when Aye Aye Naing walked over, shook an alarm clock over her face and used it to hit her on the mouth.
A few days later, Aye Aye Naing pulled Mdm Quek’s hair to get her to sit up. When Mdm Quek was lying down again, Aye Aye Naing pressed the base of a water bottle several times on her mouth.
Mdm Quek’s daughter lodged a police report on Aug 21 last year.
Doctors at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital found bruises on Mdm Quek’s forehead, cheek, chest and thigh.
Aye Aye Naing was assessed at the Institute of Mental Health in accordance with a court order following her arrest. A psychiatrist found that she had an “adjustment disorder secondary to her ongoing court case”.
SHE LOST HER TEMPER: LAWYER
DPP Yap sought eight to 12 months’ jail, while Aye Aye Naing’s lawyer — Mr Lum Guo Rong from law firm Lexcompass — asked for six months of imprisonment.
Addressing the rough treatment that his client had committed against the victim, Mr Lum said that this was “infrequent” and that Aye Aye Naing was not motivated to have a pattern of abuse towards Mdm Quek.
The offences were “more akin to episodes of outburst of frustration”, and Aye Aye Naing had to perform other household chores aside from taking care of Mdm Quek, the lawyer added.
“There were six people in the household, quite a fair bit of chores to be done. Regrettably and she’s very sorry about it, when the victim called her over when she was tending to other chores, she lost her temper and was impatient towards the victim and behaved in such a manner,” Mr Lum added.
The victim also served as a grandmotherly figure to Aye Aye Naing and they shared a good relationship, said the defence counsel.
During investigations, Mdm Quek had indicated that she was “happy” to have Aye Aye Naing around.
While the offence of voluntarily causing hurt normally attracts up to three years’ jail, a maximum fine of S$5,000 or both, Aye Aye Naing was liable for twice that punishment as Mdm Quek is a vulnerable person under the law.
The provision for enhanced penalties for crimes against vulnerable persons took effect last year.