Maid jailed 12 years for strangling 16-year-old girl with pinafore

Indonesian Tuti Aeliyah, 30, was jailed 12 years for killing 16-year-old student Shameera Basha on Nov 14, 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Indonesian Tuti Aeliyah, 30, was jailed 12 years for killing 16-year-old student Shameera Basha on Nov 14, 2013. -- PHOTO: SINGAPORE POLICE FORCE
Shameera Basha, a Secondary 4 student from Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, was found with two fatal stab wounds in a bedroom at her home in Tampines on Nov 14, 2013. Her family’s Indonesian domestic helper, Tuti Aeliyah, was arrested and has been c
Shameera Basha, a Secondary 4 student from Tanjong Katong Girls’ School, was found with two fatal stab wounds in a bedroom at her home in Tampines on Nov 14, 2013. Her family’s Indonesian domestic helper, Tuti Aeliyah, was arrested and has been charged with culpable homicide. -- PHOTO: INSTAGRAM

SINGAPORE - A domestic maid who strangled her employer's 16-year-old daughter with the girl's own school pinafore while the teenager was asleep, was on Monday jailed for 12 years.

Indonesian Tuti Aeliyah, 30, pleaded guilty in the High Court to one charge of culpable homicide for killing Shameera Basha Noor Basha, a Secondary 4 student at Tanjong Katong Girls' School, on Nov 14, 2013.

Tuti was originally charged with murder, but the charge was reduced after she was diagnosed to be suffering from severe depression with psychotic symptoms at the time. Her mental condition was found to have significantly impaired her judgment.

The High Court heard on Monday that Tuti, who started working for the teen's family of four in April 2012, was not abused or ill-treated by her employers.

But several months before the killing, she started behaving strangely. She lost weight, did not want to call home and cried frequently. Two weeks before the incident, she told a neighbour's maid that she wanted to commit suicide.

She told a psychiatrist that the night before the killing, she tried to kill herself but failed.

The next morning, Shameera was still asleep and alone at home with the maid after her parents and brother left their Tampines flat. The maid claimed that while she was in the toilet, she saw a ghost which told her to kill the teenager.

At 8am, armed with a kitchen knife, she went into the teen's room and tried to smother her with a pillow. After Shameera woke up and struggled, the maid stabbed her in the abdomen and chest. The maid then looped Shameera's dark green pinafore around her neck a few times and pulled both ends until the teen stopped moving.

Tuti then drank half a capful of fabric softener, made superficial cuts on her wrist with a knife and tried to hang herself from from a toilet pipe but failed to kill herself.

Half an hour past noon, when the teen's mother returned home, the maid told her employer that she had killed Shameera. Shocked, the 47-year-old woman sought help from a neighbour, who called the police.

selinal@sph.com.sg