Babysitter who poisoned two infants jailed for seven years
District Judge said nature of the drugs administered had put the lives of the infants at risk
The mothers had entrusted their young infant daughters with the freelance babysitter, an enrolled nurse who was herself a divorced mother of two teenage daughters.
But the court heard that when they picked up their little girls, who are not related, from Sa'adiah Jamari's home separately in late 2016, the babies were unusually drowsy and unresponsive.
The younger baby, who was five months old, appeared "cranky" and had swollen eyelids, while the older infant, then 11 months old, could not walk, the mothers had testified.
Taking the babies to different hospitals, they discovered that a range of drugs, including some used to treat insomnia and anxiety, had been administered to their babies.
Sa'adiah, who was convicted in October of poisoning the two girls, was yesterday jailed for seven years for two counts of causing hurt with poisons.
The 39-year-old maintains her innocence and is appealing against both her conviction and the sentence. She is out on bail of $20,000.
District Judge John Ng said the two victims were "helpless babies totally dependent on their caregivers".
They and their mothers cannot be named to protect their identities.
The judge said Sa'adiah showed no remorse for what were grave offences, adding that the nature of the drugs administered had put the lives of the infants at risk.
He also noted that Sa'adiah's psychiatric disorders, which the lawyers had cited, had no causal link with her offending.
The younger girl's mother, 29, had testified during the trial that she put up a Facebook notice in October 2016 as she needed a babysitter for her baby and older daughter, who was then five years old.
Sa'adiah responded and started taking care of the girls in early November after the mother had visited her Hougang flat and found it "suitable".
But later that month, the mother noticed something amiss, and took the baby to KK Women's and Children's Hospital (KKH), where the girl was found to be fine.
After the eighth and last babysitting session the following month, the mother noticed her child was very drowsy, so she took her to Parkway East Hospital.
The baby was warded for about five days and found to have multiple substances in her body, including alprazolam, which is used to treat anxiety and more commonly known as Xanax, chlorpheniramine, which is found in allergy medicine, and zolpidem, which aids sleep.
The other baby's mother, 22, testified that Sa'adiah had responded to her Facebook post seeking a babysitter on Christmas evening.
But after she and her boyfriend picked her baby up from Sa'adiah's flat the next morning, the girl was drowsy and unresponsive.
Various drugs, including alprazolam, were found in the baby's urine after she was admitted to KKH.
During the trial, the court heard that some of the drugs were found in Sa'adiah's home and she had prescriptions for some of them.
Sa'adiah's lawyers asked for no more than two years' jail yesterday, noting her contributions as a nurse, including her role in the 2003 severe acute respiratory syndrome outbreak.
But Deputy Public Prosecutor Yan Jiakang said the fact that Sa'adiah was a nurse could be seen as an aggravating factor as she would have known about the effects of the drugs, and yet continued to administer them to the two babies without close supervision.
For each count of administering poison with the intent to cause hurt, Sa'adiah could have been jailed for up to 10 years and/or fined. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.