Babysitter accused of poisoning 2 babies had been prescribed similar drugs

Sa'adiah Jamari is accused of two counts of administering poisons to the babies with the intention of hurting them.
Sa'adiah Jamari is accused of two counts of administering poisons to the babies with the intention of hurting them.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A babysitter accused of administering potentially harmful medications to two babies under her care had been prescribed the drugs later found in the infants' bodies.

They included sleeping drug zolpidem, as well as alprazolam and diazepam, which are used to treat anxiety disorders.

Court documents did not state why freelance nurse Sa'adiah Jamari, 38, had these drugs prescribed to her in November and December 2016.

A district court heard that on Dec 29 that year, items including an empty pack of zolpidem, a handkerchief and milk bottle were found in her Hougang flat. Diazepam was later detected on the handkerchief, while the bottle had traces of zolpidem.

Sa'adiah is accused of two counts of administering poisons to the babies with the intention of hurting them. One of the infants was just five months old, while the other was 11 months old. They are not related to each other.

The Singaporean allegedly committed the offences in November and December 2016.

The older child's mother, 22, testified in court on the third day of the trial on Thursday (Feb 20).

In December 2016, she posted on a Facebook group that she needed somebody to look after her baby on Christmas evening.

Sa'adiah responded to the message and the mother sent her child to the older woman's flat as planned.

At around 6am the next day, her boyfriend picked up the baby and the woman noticed that her infant seemed "tired".

 
 
 

The mother told District Judge John Ng fo her child: "Even after she woke up, she was so drowsy. She could not walk. After one hour... still the same thing... Her head kept moving round and round."

The baby was taken to KK Women's and Children's Hospital that day and admitted.

A urine sample taken from the child was later found to contain substances that included alprazolam and diazepam. She was discharged on Jan 1, 2017.

The 29-year-old mother of the younger baby who testified in court on Tuesday also said her daughter was hospitalised for several days after the baby girl was found to be "very drowsy" and "cranky".

The customer service officer had also found Sa'adiah through Facebook in November 2016, and had engaged her to look after her baby and an older daughter, five, a number of times.

She took the baby to Parkway East Hospital in December that year when she had misgivings about the child's condition, and later received a medical report listing multiple substances detected in her daughter's body.

They included the sleeping drug temazepam, the antihistamine chlorpheniramine, and alprazolam. She alerted the police.

Both women cannot be named to protect their children's identities.

Sa'adiah is now out on bail of $10,000 and her trial will resume on Feb 27.

For each charge of causing hurt with poisons, an offender can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned. Sa'adiah cannot be caned as she is a woman.