Singapore

Maid jailed for hurting toddler

Maid abused toddler for 10 months because she was upset with his older brother's behaviour

The maid was angry with her employer's "very naughty" nine-year-old son, but knew he would tell on her if she hurt him.

So she took out her frustration on his two-year-old brother, who was too young to complain.

Between March last year and January this year, for about three times a week, she would pinch the younger boy's body, back and legs.

The abuse came to light after his mother discovered scars and wounds all over him.

"Call it a mother's instinct but I don't know what prompted me to check his body that day.

"When I took off his shirt I was shocked to see the marks, bruises and scars, some of which were already healed so I knew it was not recent," the victim's mother told The New Paper. (See report on right).

She confronted the maid, and found out to her horror that the woman had started pinching the boy about 10 months earlier.

Yesterday, Fajardo Elizabeth Esquiral,, 26, was jailed six months for abusing the child, now three.

We are not naming the victim or his family members due to a gag order.

Court papers said the Filipina began working for the single mother in July 2013 and took care of her two sons while the mother was at work, between 9am and 5.30pm.

She shared the younger boy's bedroom.

Fajardo told the authorities she found the older boy to be very naughty and that he did not listen to her.

So she would pinch his brother whenever she was angry and frustrated.

She admitted that she picked on the younger boy as he was only two and was unlikely to be able to tell his mother what had happened.

On Jan 21 this year, the boy's mother noticed the injuries all over his body.

When she first confronted Fajardo, the maid lied that she had not noticed the scars.

The mother then took her son to KK Women's and Children's Hospital for a medical check-up.

CONFESSED

She questioned her maid again when she got home later that night and Fajardo eventually admitted to pinching the boy.

The mother called the police two hours later, and Fajardo's employment was also terminated that day.

Yesterday, Fajardo, who was not represented by a lawyer, said in mitigation that she was remorseful and begged for forgiveness from her employer, the victim and the Singapore Government.

Principal District Judge Bala Reddy said in sentencing that the boy was ill-treated for 10 months and he was a defenceless victim who could not complain about the abuse.

For ill-treating the child, Fajardo could have been jailed up to four years, fined up to $4,000, or both.

When I took off his shirt I was shocked to see the marks, bruises and scars, some of which were already healed so I knew it was not recent.

- The boy's mother

Mum has lost trust in maids

Her Filipino maid Fajardo Elizabeth Esquiral 26, seemed like god-sent when she started working with the family on July 25, 2013.

"She took care of the house and my boys and they loved her, especially the younger one. They seemed close.

"I was in the midst of a divorce and needed someone to take care of the boys. She had been with us for two-and-a-half years. My mother even gave her a gold necklace because she thought Beth loved the boys," the victim's mother told The New Paper.

But, Fajardo was taking out her frustrations with her employer's nine-year-old son on his two-year-old brother for over 10 months.

Fajardo pinched his body, back and legs, leaving marks, bruises and scars.

The abuse only came to light when his mother discovered his scars and wounds in January.

FOUND OUT

She said: "(The maid) told me that his finger nails were long and he scratched himself. When I took him to KKH (KK Women's and Children's Hospital), I was told by the doctor that there were bruises in places where he could not have reached."

The single mother called the police after the maid admitted later that she had abused the boy.

"Beth was so good to my boys in front of us. She seemed so perfect but she turned out to be a monster. It never crossed my mind that she was capable of such evil acts. I can never forgive her," she said.

She said that after the maid as arrested, she placed her sons with a friend who has two boys of her own.

"My friend noticed that whenever she placed my younger one on the sofa, he would sit very still with clenched fists and not move for hours. The physical scars have healed, but I wonder if she had harmed him psychologically," the victim's mother added.

What Fajardo did made the single mum not trust even her current maid.

"I know it is unfair to her, but I had to put my sons' welfare first. I fixed cameras around the house to ensure there is no more abuse," she said.

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