A year in jail for man who burned maid's left forearm with heated metal spatula

Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar came home drunk again the next day and pulled the woman's left wrist before pushing her into her room.
Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar came home drunk again the next day and pulled the woman's left wrist before pushing her into her room.ST PHOTO: KELVIN CHNG

SINGAPORE - After a drinking session, an intoxicated man picked up a heated metal spatula and used it to burn his domestic helper's left forearm on Oct 18, 2018.

Rajamanickam Suresh Kumar came home drunk again the next day and pulled the woman's left wrist before pushing her into her room.

The 35-year-old offender was on Tuesday (Aug 17) sentenced to a year's jail.

After a trial, District Judge Ronald Gwee had earlier found him guilty of one count each of assaulting and using criminal force on Indian national Vadivel Gowthami.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Thiagesh Sukumaran had said in his submissions that Rajamanickam's wife was Ms Vadivel's employer.

It was the maid's first time in Singapore and she did not know anyone here except for her husband's aunt who also worked as a domestic helper.

Ms Vadivel, who earned $400 a month, started working at Rajamanickam's Jurong West flat in April 2018.

She worked six days a week and was tasked to perform chores including cleaning and cooking.

The DPP said that the maid later stated that she felt tired every day.

She lodged a complaint to her agent in July 2018, stating that she wanted to return to India. Soon after, the agent told Rajamanickam's wife about what had happened.

Ms Vadivel testified during the trial that the wife approached her. The woman then told the maid to direct all complaints to her instead of the agent.

Ms Vadivel was also told to continue working for the household, said the DPP.

During the trial, the court heard that Rajamanickam was drunk when he returned home on Oct 18, 2018.

DPP Thiagesh said that Ms Vadivel then went to the kitchen to prepare for him some thosai - a type of crepe.

After placing a bowl of chutney on a dining table, she returned to the kitchen and started looking for a spatula which she was using to prepare the meal.

The DPP said: "While she was doing so, she realised that the accused was next to her holding the spatula. He used the spatula to burn her left forearm."

Rajamanickam then left the kitchen and Ms Vadivel continued cooking before she went to bed.

The court heard that he came home drunk again at around 10.30pm the next day and asked the maid for his daughter's whereabouts.

He then told Ms Vadivel to bring her home after he found out that the girl was at his mother-in-law's house.

The prosecutor said: "The victim refused because it was past her working hours. The accused then told the victim, 'Since MOM (the Ministry of Manpower) had informed you to sleep at 10pm, why are you still awake?', pulled her left wrist and pushed her into her room. He then closed the door."

Ms Vadivel later told her husband about what had happened and he told her to return to India. She finally alerted the police on Oct 21, 2018.

During the trial, Rajamanickam, who was unrepresented, denied committing the offences.

"The accused simply testified that he did not commit (them) and provided no other explanation," said DPP Thiagesh.

For assaulting a maid with a heated object, an offender can be jailed for up to 10½ years and fined or caned, or receive any combination of such punishments.