Singaporean admits killing maid after ‘inhumane’ abuse

SINGAPORE (AFP) – A Singaporean woman has admitted to starving, assaulting and ultimately killing her domestic worker from Myanmar in what prosecutors called one of the worst cases of maid abuse in the city-state.

The affluent financial hub is home to about 250,000 domestic workers who mostly come from poorer Asian countries, and stories of mistreatment are common.

But the abuse meted out against Piang Ngaih Don was particularly awful, with the helper stamped on, strangled, choked, battered with brooms, and burnt with an iron.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 40, pleaded guilty on Tuesday to 28 charges including culpable homicide against the 24-year-old maid. She will be sentenced at a later date, and could be jailed for life.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan being taken back to her home at Block 145 Bishan Street 11 by police for investigations on Aug 3, 2016. ST/ANN

“That one human being would treat another in this evil and utterly inhumane manner is cause for the righteous anger of the court; and the law must come down with full force,” prosecutors said.

The maid was employed by Gaiyathiri and her husband, a police officer, in 2015 to help take care of their four-year-old daughter and one-year-old son.

But she physically assaulted the victim almost daily, often several times a day, with her 61-year-old mother sometimes joining in, according to court documents seen by AFP.

The domestic worker finally died in July 2016 after Gaiyathiri repeatedly assaulted her over several hours.