SINGAPORE - After six months of abuse by her employer, an Indonesian maid escaped from the third-floor Punggol flat by climbing out from the service balcony window and leaping from the second floor, injuring herself.
Ms Yulianti, who was 33, when she did this on Aug 7, 2012, took a taxi to the maid agency to seek help, and was later taken to hospital for bruises on her head and body.
On Monday (Feb 22), her employer, former customer relationship officer Nuraini Hassan, 32, was sentenced to nine months' jail on four counts of maid abuse. Two other similar charges were taken into consideration.
She admitted to punching Ms Yulianti in the left eye, slapping her on the face and kicking her in the abdomen on July 24, 2012, at her home in Edgefield Plains.
On Aug 5, she scratched the domestic helper's face with her fingernails and punched her in the face the next day. On the day of the escape, Nuraini slapped her and kicked her in the stomach.
Nuraini's husband, Muhamad Al-Hafiz Nordin, 32, pleaded guilty to two maid abuse charges last year and has completed his four-week jail sentence.
A court heard Ms Yulianti started working for Nuraini in January 2012 and that during the first month of her employment, Nuraini treated her well. But after that she would scold the maid. From July, Ms Yulianti was also allowed to bathe only once every three days as Nuraini felt that she wasted too much water when she washed clothes with the washing machine.
On July 23 at about 10pm, the maid ate some noodles prepared by Nuraini for her as she was hungry, not realising that it was meant for her break fast meal. As she had eaten the noodles, Nuraini did not prepare any more food for her.
At about 5am the next day, Ms Yulianti was hungry and ate four slices of bread. When she told her employer at about noon and offered to pay for the bread, Nuraini lashed out angrily by punching, slapping and kicking her.
On Aug 5, Nuraini shouted at Ms Yulianti for not ironing her dress, and scratched her face.
The next day, she scolded the maid and punched her in the face several times - all because her hair dropped on the floor while she was sweeping.
On Aug 7, Nuraini slapped and punched her, and also kicked her stomach in anger for washing her clothes and those of the family's despite a previous reminder not to do so.
Ms Yulianti also lost about 20kg after she started working, weighing only 45kg in August 2012.
Nuraini's lawyer Sunil Sudheesan said the weight loss was not attributable to his client nor her husband, but was a result of Ms Yulianti's dietary preference. This was compounded by her being unable to get used to the food here.
The couple have since paid compensation of $5,000 to Ms Yulianti, who has forgiven Nuraini, a mother of three, for her actions, the lawyer added.
Nuraini, who could have been jailed for up to three years and fined up to $7,500 on each charge, was allowed to defer sentence until March 7.