Maid confesses to killing elderly woman, two days after she's buried
Maid confesses to killing elderly woman two days after she is buried
Two days after Madam Aandi Abdul Rahman Rasheeda Begam was buried, her family members got a shock.
Their Indonesian maid suddenly confessed she had killed the 76-year-old grandmother by smothering her to death with a pillow.
The news was especially shocking as Madam Aandi had been found without any visible injuries and was certified to have died from a heart disease.
The police were notified and Madam Aandi's body was exhumed for a further autopsy.
Yesterday, the 24-year-old Indonesian maid, Yati, was sentenced to 10 years' jail for culpable homicide not amounting to murder for killing Madam Aandi at the Serangoon North Avenue 4 HDB flat on Jan 14 last year.
She was initially charged with murder but the charge was amended after she was found to be suffering from severe depression with psychotic symptoms.
The court heard that Yati arrived here to work as a domestic worker in April 2013. She worked for her first employer from April till September 2013 before she was employed by Madam Aandi's daughter-in-law Fathima Kuny Maidin, 40, on Oct 10 that year.
Yati was to sweep the floor, wash the toilet, do the laundry and care for Madam Aandi, who was wheelchair-bound and suffering from health conditions such as diabetes, hypertension, heart disease and high cholesterol.
Yati shared a bedroom with Madam Aandi.
Madam Fathima, her husband, their two sons and daughteroccupied the remaining two bedrooms.
After working for a month, Yati began feeling stressed as she thought Madam Fathima would scold her whenever she made mistakes and feed her leftovers. She also developed the idea that Madam Fathima did not like Madam Aandi because she, too, was fed leftovers.
She also came to this conclusion because she was instructed to attend to the children's needs before the old woman's.
The maid decided to kill Madam Aandi because she thought doing so would make Madam Fathima like her, the court heard.
At about 11.30pm on Jan 13 last year, Yati saw that Madam Aandi had gone to bed.
After taking a shower, the maid laid her mattress beside the elderly woman's bed and fell asleep.
She woke up half an hour later and noticed Madam Aandi was still asleep. She saw that the living room lights were still on through a gap in the door.
In the dark, Yati walked to Madam Aandi's bed and removed the pillow that was under the old woman's head, the court heard. She then put the pillow over Madam Aandi's head and pressed it downwards.
Madam Aandi started squirming, only for Yati to apply greater force, the court heard.
Madam Aandi called out "Yati" at least twice and tried grabbing the maid's left wrist on two occasions.
Both times, Yati pulled Madam Aandi's hand away and continued smothering her.
Madam Aandi stopped moving a while later but Yati continued pressing the pillow against her face for about an hour.
She checked that Madam Aandi was no longer breathing and had no pulse before putting the pillow back under the old woman's head.
She went back to sleep and got up at 5am to carry out her daily chores.
At about 11am on Jan 14 last year, Madam Fathima went to check on her mother-in-law and found her unresponsive.
Her husband called the Singapore Civil Defence Force and paramedics pronounced Madam Aandi dead half an hour later.
Police officers found no visible injuries and a medical practitioner certified her to have died from a heart disease after Madam Fathima's husband told him that the old woman suffered from a variety of health conditions.
Madam Aandi was buried at the Choa Chu Kang Muslim Cemetery that afternoon.
Yati kept mum about what happened and even denied knowing how Madam Aandi died when asked by Madam Fathima the next day.
She eventually confessed to killing Madam Aandi on Jan 16 when Madam Fathima questioned her again.
Madam Aandi's body was exhumed on Jan 18 for an autopsy. But as her body was badly decomposed, the cause of death could not be determined.
This was coupled with the fact that smothering by a soft object such as a pillow usually leaves no autopsy signs unless a struggle develops, said the Health Sciences Authority pathologist.
A psychiatrist from the Institute of Mental Health found Yati to be mentally unwell - even before she arrived in Singapore.
As a result, her logical reasoning was dysfunctional and distorted, and actions were possibly impaired at the time of the offence, even though she was found to be of a sound mind and fit to plead.
For culpable homicide not amounting to murder, Yati could have been jailed for life or up to 20 years or fined.
Sentencing is fair: maid's dad
HOME: The Serangoon North Avenue 4 HDB flat where Madam Aandi was killed by the maid Yati. PHOTO: LIANHE WANBAO
It has been almost two years since the family of Madam Aandi Abdul Rahman Rasheeda Begam found out their maid had killed the elderly woman.
Today, the family is recovering from the episode, said a family member who identified himself as Madam Aandi's grandson when The New Paper visited the Serangoon North Avenue 4 flat yesterday.
"The family is well," he said, declining to comment further.
Earlier in court, Yati's father and husband, who arrived here from Indonesia on Wednesday night, were present for her sentencing.
After the hearing, her father, Mr Kardiyadi, 43, a farmer, told reporters that he accepted his daughter's 10-year jail term.
"It's fair. I told her to be patient and we will be reunited soon," he said.
Yati's husband, Mr Jaidin Prabowo, 30, said their three-year-old daughter is now well and is being looked after by Yati's mother, who did not travel here with them.
Mr Kardiyadi also expressed his condolences and apologies to Madam Aandi's family on behalf of his daughter.
Judge: it's a senseless act but a sad case
It was a senseless act that caused deep, irreparable damage to the victim's and accused's families, said Justice Kan Ting Chu yesterday.
But it was a sad case where the accused committed the offence while suffering mental impairment.
Justice Kan was addressing the court before sentencing Indonesian maid Yati to 10 years' jail for one count of culpable homicide for killing her employer's 76-year-old mother-in-law.
Earlier, Deputy Public Prosecutor Chee Min Ping said Yati had attacked a vulnerable victim and betrayed the trust and reliance placed on her by her employer.
Defence lawyer Mohamed Muzammil Mohamed said in mitigation that his client was remorseful for her actions.
He added that Yati came to Singapore from an Indonesian village in West Java in 2013, hoping to earn money so her family could buy a piece of land and a house back home.
This was after she had worked at a restaurant in Malaysia for two years.
After she arrived here, her husband, Mr Jaidin Prabowo, 30, who works as a food vendor back home, told her that their one-year-old daughter was ill.
This left Yati worried and depressed.
Mr Muzammil said a report by an Institute of Mental Health psychiatrist noted Yati experienced episodes of sleep and appetite disturbances, difficulty in concentrating on her work as well as suicidal thoughts.