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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.
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
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Toddler dies after abuse by mum and her boyfriend
Boy, 2, dies after horrific abuse by mother and her live-in boyfriend. Prosecutor says: His home was like a 'concentration camp'
For little Daniel, who was just two years old when he died, home should have been where he felt safest, where he should have beenloved and protected.
But the Telok Blangah flat where he spent his brief life was a house of horrors where, for more than a month, he was abused almost daily.
Day after day, the toddler, who was born Mohamad Daniel Mohamad Nasser, would be slapped, kicked and stamped on, until he took a fatal blow to his head that ended his month of suffering.
One of his two tormentors was his mother, the person who should have loved and protected him.
The other was her live-in boyfriend.
Yesterday, Zaidah, 41, who goes by only one name, and Zaini Jamari, 46, each pleaded guilty in court to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to Daniel, and three counts of ill-treating him.
The court was told that the couple, who are both cleaners, had abused Daniel almost every day for more than a month until he died of a head injury on Nov 23 last year.
Between Oct 18 and Nov 22, they repeatedly slapped and kicked him, and forcefully fed him chilli.
Once, Zaidah stamped him on his chest after he fell when she hit him.
The abuse in a one-room rental flat at Block 19, Telok Blangah Crescent, was so horrifying that Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh likened Daniel's living conditions to that of a "concentration camp".
Zaidah also faced 26 other charges of ill-treating her son, while Zaini had another 18 charges. They will be taken into consideration during sentencing.
The court heard that Daniel was Zaidah's fourth of six children.
Her three older children, of whom the eldest is 20 years old, no longer live with her. Their father is not known. Daniel's father was in prison when he was born. Zaidah has since lost contact with him.
A check on the Registry of Muslim Marriages shows that she had been married once, to another man in 1991.
Her fifth child, conceived with Zaini, is a girl who is now almost two. She was about seven months pregnant with her sixth child when she started abusing Daniel.
The family lived in the flat which was rented by her friend, Ms Puspawati Abdul Razat, 50. Ms Puspawati's 15-year-old niece also lived there.
From September to early October last year, Daniel and his half-sister were placed in the care of another woman, Ms Yusnita Mohamed Idrus, 41.
But she stopped in mid-October because she had to undergo an operation later that month.
On Oct 21, Ms Puspawati's niece came home and saw Zaidah punishing Daniel by making him stand beside a fan, DPP Poh told the court.
When the toddler became sleepy and could no longer stand straight, Zaidah slapped his face several times and shouted in Malay: "When night (falls), you do not want to sleep, when morning (comes), you want to sleep."
She then kicked his stomach when he fell to the floor.
Zaini then pulled the boy up by his hand and forced him into the kitchen, and punished him by making him stand there.
On Nov 9, Zaidah made her son stand with both his hands on top of his head as punishment.
When she complained to Zaini about the toddler, he kicked the boy hard on his back, then kicked him again on his rib after he fell to the floor.
Six days later, Ms Puspawati's niece noticed that Daniel was again standing beside the fan as punishment.
For no apparent reason, Zaidah suddenly slapped his face hard several times until he fell to the floor.
After she kicked him, Zaini stepped forward and slapped his face before kicking his stomach about five times.
On Nov 18, Zaidah slapped the boy until his mouth bled. When he fell, she twisted both his hands and stepped on them.
After that, she carried him by his hands and legs to the toilet before changing his nappy on the bed.
Between 10am and noon four days later, she tried to feed him but he refused to eat.
Zaidah then slapped his face thrice before passing the bowl of food to Zaini.
When Daniel continued refusing to eat, they slapped him.
Zaidah then hit his back until he fell. When he did not get up, she forcefully stamped on his chest with her right leg.
She also yanked his left arm to make him stand. Daniel managed to swallow about three spoonfuls of food before refusing to eat any more. She then ordered him to stand in a corner.
At around 8pm, he was made to stand near the bed.
When the tired toddler rested his hand on the bed frame, Zaidah slapped his face several times before Zaini joined in.
DPP Poh said: "The deceased then lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. (Zaini) then brought him to the fridge and force-fed him two spoonfuls of dried chilli.
"As the deceased was still weak and did not respond, (Zaini) brought him to the toilet and washed the dried chilli from his mouth. He then punished the deceased again by making him stand in the living room."
The toddler was still standing about 45 minutes later. Tired from the punishment, he could not stand properly and almost fainted.
When Zaidah saw this, she shouted at him, pinched his body and cheeks before slapping him several times.
Though Daniel was weak by then, she thought he was pretending and complained to Zaini, who then slapped him several times.
When one of the blows missed and landed on his daughter, Zaidah got angry and kicked Daniel on the chest and stomach several times.
Zaini also kicked his stomach, and the boy hit his head against the floor when he fell.
After that, Zaini forced dried chilli down his throat, causing mucus to flow from his nose.
He then took the toddler to the toilet and washed his face before ordering him to sleep.
Around 8am the next day, he tried to wake Daniel but the boy was motionless.
He alerted Zaidah and they tried to rouse the boy but failed.
Ms Puspawati and her niece called an ambulance, and Daniel was taken to the Singapore General Hospital.
He was pronounced dead about an hour later.
DPP Poh said the couple were not suffering from any mental disorders when they abused Daniel.
Zaidah and Zaini will be sentenced on July 5.
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, they can each be jailed up to 10 years and fined. Zaini can also be caned.
And for each count of ill-treating Daniel, they can each be jailed up to four years and fined up to $4,000.
SOME OF THE ABUSES DANIEL SUFFERED
• slapped in face
• kicked in the chest, stomach, back, ribs
• forced to stand with hands on head
• hands twisted, stepped on
• forced to eat
• force-fed dried chilli
• pinched on body, cheeks
He then lay down on the floor and closed his eyes. (Zaini) then brought him to the fridge and force fed him two spoonfuls of dried chilli.
- Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Claire Poh, describing one of the abuses by Zaini, the boyfriend of the boy's mother
Movie Review: Independence Day: Resurgence (PG)
Go big or go home.
That has always been Roland Emmerich's mantra, and once again, the German director lives up to expectations.
It's been 20 years since David Levinson(Jeff Goldblum) helped save humanity from annihilation, but world peace was not meant to be. When the alien queen decides to invade Earth once again, it’s up to David and hotshot pilots Jake (Liam Hemsworth) and Dylan (Jesse T. Usher) to come up with a new plan.
This sequel to the 1996 blockbuster hit is best summed up by David after the first sighting of the alien mothership: “It’s definitely bigger than the last one.”
Subtlety has never been Emmerich’s strong suit - Resurgence is a visual spectacle all right.
He waited 20 years for the appropriate technology to execute his vision, and he sure didn’t waste any time.
Right from the start, he fires on all cylinders, destroying Saturn, the Moon and some other unnamed planets before his eye fixes on the prize... the third rock from the Sun.
Within half an hour, Marina Bay Sands is blasted into smithereens, Dubai’s Burj Khalifa is uprooted and unceremoniously dropped onto London’s River Thames.
City after city gets decimated, and there’s also a sly nod to Emmerich’s love for destroying the White House.
All this is expected from Emmerich, whose original Independence Day blew our minds away then.
Perhaps because of his love for blowing things up, he forgets plot and characters.
Resurgence is supposed to be the official handover to a new generation, but it’s clear the old guards like Goldblum, Bill Pullman and Brent Spiner’s wacky scientist Dr Brakish Okun lord over Hemsworth and Usher.
The two young actors sorely lack the chemistry and sass Goldblum and leading man Will Smith shared in the original.
Even the supposedly inspirational speeches do not have the same rousing effect as Pullman’s hair-standing monologue in the first film - the updated rah-rah talk comes across as cheesy.
The finale shamelessly sets up for another follow-up, but one can only hope Emmerich pays more attention to his story and people the next time.
We ask: Which is your favourite place to break fast?
Jumaiyah Mahathir and Shamsydar Ani from HalalFoodHunt.com
"Segar Village (19, Sims Way) remains one of the very few halal places in Singapore that serves live seafood. Our recommendation that is unique to this cafe would be the cream sauce prawn and the salted egg sotong - dishes we would stick our neck out for."
PHOTO: FIX CAFE
Adam Shah from The Halal Food Blog
"One of our favourites is Fix (HomeTeamNS-JOM Clubhouse). The best part is that it continually renews its menu. This year, they have a revamped Mexican menu, which is very unique because there are not many halal Mexican food choices around."
Singer Sezairi Sezali
"I will usually break fast at home as it is nearly impossible to get seats during break fast time, but occasionally I'll (take away) the shitake mushroom sauce with soya katsu from Greendot."
New Face 2002 contestant, author, actress and businesswoman Nura Jasni
"I rarely break fast outside. But when I do, I will always decide on Evertop Chicken Rice in Clementi Avenue 2. I love the authentic taste of Hainanese chicken rice. It's a welcome break from the usual Malay cuisine."
The New Paper New Face 2015 winner Selynna Norhisham
"Recently, I've been eating at I Am... cafe in 674, North Bridge Road. It serves Western food. They have really good sandwiches and I particularly enjoy their chicken Cajun pasta. But there's always a super-long queue, so you must go early."