Employer used household items to hit and burn domestic worker

Suganthi Jayaraman, 33, who is charged with maid abuse, is photographed leaving the State Courts on May 22, 2015.  She had used household items to hit and burn her domestic worker. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG
Suganthi Jayaraman, 33, who is charged with maid abuse, is photographed leaving the State Courts on May 22, 2015.  She had used household items to hit and burn her domestic worker. -- ST PHOTO: SEAH KWANG PENG

SINGAPORE - A woman heated a metal ladle until it was red hot and placed it on the calf and bare back of her domestic worker because she did not like the taste of the curry she cooked, a court heard on Friday.

About a week before that, Suganthi Jayaraman, 33, used a metal pestle to hit Ms Naw Mu De Paw, 24, on her head for not frying vadais - a deep-fried snack - fast enough.

The Myanmar helper bled heavily from the two spots she was hit, but was forced to continue frying, and to take the vadais to a provision shop which Suganthi and her husband were then running.

Suganthi pleaded guilty to three of seven charges. The offences took place at her flat in Woodlands Drive 16.

The court heard that during the time the helper was abused - from July 9 to Oct 2, 2013 - she lived in constant fear of being beaten again.

She was often afraid to tell anyone about an incident and did not even dare to inspect her wounds as Suganthi would scold her for it, said Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Chua.

Suganthi would also threaten the victim that she would get into trouble if she ran away or called the police.

The victim eventually left the flat on Oct 3 and called the police.

On the morning of Sept 30, Ms Naw woke up late because she had been working till 4am the night before.

She was supposed to be up by 6.30am to send her employer's daughter to school.

Suganthi confronted her and scolded her harshly after finding the girl still at home. Then she punched her in the face.

Lawyer Louis Joseph said his client, who had been crying in the dock, deserved some discount for her guilty plea.

"Even though her behaviour was unforgivable, she stands before you remorseful and regretful for what she had done," he told District Judge Christopher Goh, who will sentence her on June 5.

Suganthi could be jailed for up to 10-and-a-half years and fined for causing hurt with a heated substance. The punishment for the other two offences is a jail term of up to three years and/or fine of up to $7,500 each.

elena@sph.com.sg