Mother-daughter pair jailed for abusing maid, leaving her with permanent disability

Jayasheela Jayaraman (left) and her mother, Anpalaki Muniandy Marimuthu were sentenced 12 months and 16 months' jail respectively for hurting the former's maid. ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

SINGAPORE - A mother and daughter pair were on Friday (Sept 23) handed jail sentences for hurting the daughter's maid, who was left with a permanent disability in her left ear from the abuse.

Housewife Anpalaki Muniandy Marimuthu, 65, was convicted of six charges of hurting Ms Sriyatun, 27, and jailed for 16 months. Her daughter, warehouse supervisor Jayasheela Jayaraman, 43, was found guilty of three charges, given 12 months' jail and ordered to pay $840 in compensation.

The duo, who are represented by Mr K. Jayakumar Naidu and Ms Mumtaj Banu, are appealing.

District Judge Jasvender Kaur said there was a clear pattern of abuse each time the victim had done a wrong.

She said Ms Sriyatun has a "cauliflower ear'', a permanent disability, due to the slapping of the left ear by both women.

Ms Sriyatun was first slapped by Jayasheela for not carrying the latter's shoes into the family's Bendemeer Road flat one evening in 2012. She repeated her act when the maid was massaging her ear.

The mother of a six-year-old boy testified that the pair had pinched her swollen ear before it healed, and it hardened. Sometime in 2013, Jayasheela grabbed her breast, squeezed and twisted it for being slow in her work.

On Oct 24 that year, a day before the maid decided to escape, Jayasheela dragged her into the bedroom and demanded to know why she had disturbed her seven-year-old son.

She pinched the corner of the maid's mouth and knocked her head twice with her hand. The blow caused the maid's mouth to bleed and left a 2cm teeth imprint over her inner upper lip.

The court heard that Anapalaki hurt Ms Sriyatun with household objects on a few occasions.

Once in November 2012, she jabbed the maid's foot with the sharp base of an aluminium prong for bringing her son's shoes into the unit while she was praying. The maid's foot bled profusely and she was left with a 2cm scar.

In another incident in 2013, Anpalaki used the back of a kitchen knife to hit the maid's left hand and a rolling pin to hit both her hands a few times. She also used a wooden prong to hit her thighs.

Deputy Public Prosecutor James Chew said the maid felt so mentally tortured that she tried to kill herself.

"The fact that the accused persons had egregiously abused their authority and exploited the vulnerability victim is a significant aggravating factor that warrants a strong deterrent sentence,'' he said.

The maximum penalty for causing hurt to a domestic worker is three years' jail and a $7,500 fine per charge.

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