Maid jailed for 14 months for dipping toddler’s hand in boiling water
A maid who repeatedly put a toddler's hand into boiling water was jailed for 14 months yesterday.
The 30-year-old, who is from Myanmar, pleaded guilty to voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous means.
The New Paper is not naming her to protect the identity of the child.
The maid was employed by the victim's family on Dec 8 last year to housekeep, cook and take care of the 16-month-old toddler and her eight-year-old sister.
After just two weeks, she wanted a transfer as she did not know how to care for the toddler. But she was told by the agency she would incur a cost to do so.
She chose to continue working for the family.
At about 5.15pm on Jan 14, she was cooking when the toddler cried in the bedroom.
The maid then carried the toddler into the kitchen and moved the victim's left hand towards a pot containing hot water on a stove that was turned on.
The toddler screamed as her hand was dipped into hot water two to three times.
Her sister called their father, who told her to apply aloe vera and toothpaste on the wounds.
When he came home at 6.40pm, he was shocked by her injuries and took her to a clinic.
She was referred to the KK Women's and Children's Hospital emergency department with second-degree burns on her left hand.
The doctor said she will suffer a burn scar that may be visible even after two years.
The maid initially claimed it was an accident.
But the day after the incident, she said she wanted to return to Myanmar or change employer. Her employers got suspicious, checked the home security camera footage and saw what she had done.
Confronted with the evidence, she confessed and the police were called in.
Yesterday, Deputy Public Prosecutor Jane Lim urged the court to jail the maid for at least 16 months.
She called the maid's actions brutal and especially cruel, hurting a vulnerable and defenceless victim whom she was supposed to care for.
The maid's lawyer Lolita Andrew claimed her client was also vulnerable, having worked seven days a week for the family.
In a letter, the maid apologised for her actions and asked for forgiveness.
District Judge Ong Chin Rhu jailed her for 14 months, backdating her sentence to April 8, from when she had been in remand.
For voluntarily causing hurt by dangerous weapons or means, the maid could have been jailed for up to seven years, or fined, or both. She cannot be caned as she is a woman.