A 25-year-old Indonesian woman was jailed for seven years after pleading guilty in the Singapore High Court on Thursday to one charge of culpable homicide not amounting to murder and causing the death of her employer’s one-year-old daughter in May 2016.
Maryani Usman Utar, who went to Singapore as a first-time domestic worker for a couple in a HDB flat in Simei in January 2015, was asked to look after two children – a three-year-old boy and a newborn girl, the Lianhe Zaobao (Singapore) reported.
The court heard that in the early hours of May 8, 2016, after the worker had a long day of domestic chores and was about to sleep, the baby girl she shared a bed with fell face down on the floor.
Utar picked her up and coaxed the baby back to sleep. However, at about 2 am, the baby woke again and cried for milk. Utar fed the child, but the baby vomited and started to cry.
An exhausted Utar started to lose her temper. The court heard she punched the child and assaulted her physically. After the assault, the girl closed her eyes and appeared to have fallen asleep.
By 7:50 am the worker left the employer’s home for her day off to meet her family members, who were visiting her for the first time in Singapore.
The father checked his daughter at 9 am and was shocked to find her not breathing. She was rushed to a hospital where she was pronounced dead an hour later, allegedly due to unnatural causes.
The autopsy report could not ascertain the child’s cause of death, but it was most likely due to manual compression of the neck.
The worker was examined at the Institute of Mental Health and was diagnosed with a depressive disorder of at least moderate intensity in the weeks and months leading up to the incident, after which she was remorseful over the death of the infant.
The judge said a deterrent sentence would be required as vulnerable children should be protected by law from violence.