Just one month into her job, a 38-year-old Indonesian domestic helper, Minah, stuck a knife into her elderly employer’s neck and killed her.
The deceased’s husband, Mr Tan Hee Seng, 78, had employed the helper to care for his 77-year-old wife, Madam Tay Quee Lang, who needed a walking stick and assistance to move around.
On the day of the incident, Mr Tan had left the flat in Tampines Street 22 for his medical appointment. While Minah was having lunch in the kitchen, Madam Tay repeatedly called out to her.
Madam Tay chided her for taking a long time to eat because she was using her mobile phone and the pair ended up in a heated argument.
To stop the elderly woman from talking, Minah took a kitchen knife with a 22 cm-long blade, walked towards her and held it against her throat. Undaunted, she continued to nag and complain and told the helper she was not afraid of her.
In Madam Tay’s efforts to push the knife away, the helper thrusted the knife into the elderly’s throat.
The helper then washed Madam Tay’s blood off her fingernails and phoned her employer’s daughter.
Autopsy results revealed that Madam Tay bled to death from the single stab wound- so deep that it reached the apex of her left lung.
When questioned by the police, Minah initially claimed that Madam Tay had committed suicide. She subsequently pleaded guilty to a charge of culpable homicide for killing Madam Tay and was sentenced to 15 years’ jail on Monday (April 23).
The judge said the helper’s response to the elderly’s nagging was “clearly disproportionate and unwarranted”. “It’s not a case where the deceased had used any form of violence or used any threat against you,” she said.