Couple hit and stamped on maid

Domestic maid Miezel Cagas Limbaga, 31, cooked, cared for her employers' children and had no days off. But, when they were unhappy with her, they would hit her, a court heard.

Yesterday, the wife of her employer, 32-year-old Vidya Jayasankarr, a Singapore permanent resident, was sentenced to a week in jail for slapping Ms Limbaga and grabbing her neck in January last year. The culprit and her husband, Janardana Jayasankarr, 52, a Singaporean, had been charged with hurting the Filipino maid, who had been working for them since October 2014. Both had pleaded guilty earlier.

The wife committed one count of voluntarily causing hurt, while her husband admitted to two counts. Two other similar charges will be considered when he is sentenced at a later date.

Court documents said that on Jan 20 last year, the man dragged Ms Limbaga to the master bedroom at night. He had been unhappy with her for opening the fridge and microwave earlier that day, and accused her of stealing food.

In the bedroom, the couple took turns to hit and scold the maid for her wrongdoings. The man slapped the maid, punched her stomach and chest, while his wife grabbed the helper's neck.

Ms Limbaga fell and could not stand up when told to do so. The man then stamped on her back.

The beatings came to light when another Filipina saw bruises on Ms Limbaga and made a police report on Jan 22. Police officers went to the Jayasankarrs' home in Ang Mo Kio and Ms Limbaga was sent to Khoo Teck Puat Hospital on the same day. She was found to have bruises on her scalp, cheeks, upper chest, back, sacral area and left hip.

The couple had since agreed to give the victim compensation of $1,000, said their lawyer Rajan Nair.

But the prosecution argued that this was insufficient and asked for $4,800 for loss of earnings as Ms Limbaga had stopped working in January last year and was living at the Philippine Embassy here.

She did not work during this period, the prosecution said. While working for the couple, Ms Limbaga was paid $400 a month.

Her male employer is expected to be sentenced on Feb 19.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on January 22, 2016, with the headline 'Couple hit and stamped on maid'. Print Edition | Subscribe