Maid jailed 22 months for assaulting employer, 92, causing him to fall and fracture spine

SINGAPORE - A maid pushed her 92-year-old employer during an argument, causing the elderly man to fall and fracture his spine.

Retiree Neo Ah Kow has difficulty walking now and needs help to move around.

His attacker, Myanmar national Than Nwe, 33, pleaded guilty on Tuesday (March 24) to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt.

She was sentenced to a year and 10 months in jail.

Mr Neo lives with his bedridden wife in a Chai Chee flat and had hired Than Nwe in March last year to take care of her.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Sunil Nair said that on June 28 of that year, Mr Neo had a quarrel with the maid over "the buying of bread".

During the dispute, Than Nwe suddenly went towards Mr Neo and slapped him.

Offended, he exclaimed that she had dared to hit "Ah Gong", meaning"grandfather" in Mandarin.

The DPP told District Judge Marvin Bay: "The victim put his hands up in defensive boxing position and tottered towards the accused. As the victim approached the accused, the accused initially stepped away.

"However, after a short while, the accused engaged the victim and they began scuffling while on their feet."

It was then that Than Nwe pushed Mr Neo and he fell to the floor, unable to move any more.

 
 
 
 

The maid pressed an emergency bell inside the flat and told an operator that her employer had fallen down.

An ambulance arrived soon after and it took him to Changi General Hospital, where he was warded until Sept 2 last year.

After that, Mr Neo was transferred to St Andrew's Community Hospital and he was finally discharged about a month later.

DPP Nair urged the court on Tuesday (March 24) to sentence the maid to at least two years' jail, stressing that Mr Neo was fragile due to his age.

In handing down the sentence, Judge Bay noted that the push Than Nwe had given her employer was "clearly deliberate and indeed extremely forceful".

The judge added: "You could have anticipated that this would cause him to fall and consequentially suffer catastrophic injuries."

Offenders convicted of voluntarily causing grievous hurt can be jailed for up to 10 years and fined or caned.

Than Nwe cannot be caned as she is a woman.