SINGAPORE - A maid repeatedly assaulted her employer's 67-year-old mother in a ward at the National University Hospital (NUH) as she lay helpless with terminal stage kidney disease.
Myanmar national Lain Ngain, 28, was sentenced on Wednesday (Sept 11) to four months' jail for voluntarily causing hurt to Madam Wee Keu Hoi.
Lain Ngain had started working at Madam Wee's home in September 2017 and was tasked to take care of the older woman, who was bedridden and in ill health from July 5 last year until her death on Jan 23 this year from a heart attack.
While Madam Wee was alive, Lain Ngain had to look after her daily needs, including feeding her, changing her clothes and helping her to bathe.
In December last year, Madam Wee was hospitalised at NUH.
Madam Wee's son - Mr Choo Wee Seng, 41 - told Lain Ngain to attend to his mother's needs at the hospital ward during visiting hours.
In the afternoon of Dec 31, Madam Wee told her son that the maid had hit her on several occasions, including when Lain Ngain visited her earlier at around 11am.
Mr Choo lodged a police report two days later stating: "My mum is critically ill and unable to fight back. The maid abused my mum by pinching her left breast and causing bruises, and she also spat on my mum's face."
Investigations by the authorities confirmed that Lain Ngain was captured on closed-circuit television pinching Madam Wee's left breast, left arm, left cheek and nose.
The maid claimed that Madam Wee had thrown tantrums and also insulted her on several occasions when she was taking care of her at the ward.
This led her to pinch Madam Wee in an attempt to stop the older woman from throwing any further tantrums.
Deputy Public Prosecutor Colin Ng told the court that the case involved an "utter betrayal of the trust" placed in Lain Ngain to care for the elderly and terminally ill victim..
"The accused was callous and cruel towards the victim, who had to suffer at the hands of her abuser even during the last few weeks towards the end of her life," said DPP Ng.
"Instead of caring for the victim, the accused took advantage of the trust placed in her and hurt the very person she was tasked to care for, while the victim was helpless and defenceless against her assaults," he added.
DPP Ng also urged the court to send a strong signal to deter caregivers from abusing the trust placed in them to look after the vulnerable and elderly.
For voluntarily causing hurt, Lain Ngain could have been jailed for up to two years and fined up to $5,000.