Singapore

Indonesian maid who stabbed employer says she was raped by brother

An Indonesian domestic worker who stabbed her employer more than 90 times told the High Court yesterday that she was repeatedly raped by her older brother in her teenage years.

Daryati testified that she used to cope by punching the wall in her bedroom to vent her feelings.

She continues to be affected by the abuse and is receiving psychiatric treatment in prison, she said.

The Indonesian, who said she was two years younger than her official age of 28, was taking the stand for the first time as her murder trial resumed.

Daryati initially faced the mandatory death penalty for murder, under Section 300(a) of the Penal Code, for repeatedly slashing and stabbing Madam Seow Kim Choo, 59, at her Telok Kurau house on June 7, 2016.

In April this year, after 17 days of trial, prosecutors reduced the charge to murder under Section 300(c), which carries life imprisonment or the death sentence, but said they were not pressing for capital punishment.

Daryati admitted to the reduced charge and was convicted.

But in a twist last month, she withdrew her guilty plea in the hope of getting a lower sentence by relying on psychiatric evidence.

She testified yesterday that she wanted to return home less than two months after starting work in April 2016 because she was worried about her family, who could not be contacted.

She said that she felt "very angry" with Madam Seow for not allowing her to go home.

But she maintained that she had no intention to kill her employer and had merely planned to use a knife to frighten Madam Seow into handing over her passport.

"If I had the intention to kill her, why would I inflict so many wounds on her?" she said through an interpreter.

She said Madam Seow and her husband, Mr Ong Thiam Soon, then 57, treated her well and gave her sufficient food and rest.

However, she did not have a mobile phone to contact her family and her lover or any TV or radio for entertainment. She did not have any day off, and was allowed to leave the house only to walk the dogs.

Weeks after she started work, Daryati spoke to her mother on the phone for about 10 minutes but did not get to speak to her lover.

COURT & CRIME