An Indonesian maid pushed her employer's elderly wheelchair- bound mother in the face and hit her on the back of her head.
The 28-year-old's actions were caught on closed-circuit television (CCTV) installed by her employer in their flat.
Imas Masripah's employer viewed the CCTV footage on May 17 last year, when her mother, Madam Ng Poh Lin, 94, was admitted to Tan Tock Seng Hospital after she said she was feeling weak.
Madam Ng was later warded for observation.
The footage showed that on May 12 last year, at about 7pm, Imas pushed Madam Ng in the face, and used her hand to forcefully hit her on the back of her head, when they were in the kitchen.
In her statements to the police, Imas said she hit Madam Ng because she was feeling frustrated that the victim spat out the food she was feeding her, and made the floor dirty. Two other charges of using criminal force and causing hurt to Madam Ng were taken into consideration.
Madam Ng was diagnosed with lethargy, and was found to have bedsores and a bruise on her lower lip. She died on June 10 last year due to unrelated causes.
Assistant Public Prosecutor Andrew Low asked for Imas to be given at least four months' jail because she had abused her employer's trust, and hurt a vulnerable victim.
Imas pleaded for leniency, saying she was sorry, felt regret for what she did, and would not make the same mistake again.
District Judge Terence Tay sentenced her to four months' jail yesterday, to send a strong deterrent message. As more families rely on maids to take care of the old and young, there is a greater exposure to the risk of abuse by these helpers, the judge said.
He added that vulnerable victims are not in a position to alert family members, and the crime can go undetected until there are more dire consequences.
The maximum penalty for causing hurt is two years' jail and a $5,000 fine.