Family's maid charged over toddler's death

Maryani has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, an offence punishable with up to 10 years' jail and a fine.
Maryani has been charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, an offence punishable with up to 10 years' jail and a fine.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

Indonesian woman accused of causing child's death by punching and gripping her neck until she stopped crying

An Indonesian maid allegedly caused the death of a toddler in her care by punching and gripping the baby's neck.

Yesterday, Maryani Usman Utar, 30, was charged with culpable homicide not amounting to murder, an offence punishable with up to 10 years' jail and a fine.

She allegedly caused the death of one-year-old Richelle Teo Yan Jia between 2am and 7.36am at a flat in Block 225, Simei Street 4, on Mother's Day on Sunday.

According to the charge read out to Maryani in court yesterday, she had allegedly caused the death of the child "by punching her on her neck and gripping her neck tightly with all (her) strength until she stopped crying, with the knowledge that such acts were likely to cause her death".

Maryani stood in the dock with her head bowed as an Indonesian interpreter read out the charge to her.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted the police prosecutor's request to remand her for a week, with permission to take her out for investigations.

The case will be mentioned again next Tuesday.

Maryani was arrested after Richelle was found unconscious by her father in their Simei flat on Sunday morning with bruises on her neck and head.

The child was pronounced dead in hospital just after 10am.

Maryani was not at home when the toddler was found unconscious as it was her day off and she had gone out at 8am, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao.

Police arrested Maryani in the Marina Bay area later that day. She was taken back to the Simei flat by investigators on Monday.

She is believed to have worked for the family for more than a year. It was her first job in Singapore.

Richelle's family were at the mortuary on Monday to identify her body, reported Chinese evening newspaper Shin Min Daily News.

She had celebrated her first birthday just five days before her death, reported Lianhe Wanbao.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on May 11, 2016, with the headline 'Family's maid charged over toddler's death'. Print Edition | Subscribe