SINGAPORE — During a verbal dispute with a 92-year-old dementia patient she was caring for, a Myanmar maid pushed the elderly woman to the ground and slapped her on the face several times.
Sandar Aye, 33, later lied to the woman’s son that the victim had been injured after a fall, but did not know that a CCTV camera had captured her actions.
The elderly victim ended up bedridden with fractures to her spine, pelvis, and hip and remained in a nursing home until she passed away months later.
Sander was jailed for three years on Thursday (13 August) after she pleaded guilty to one count of voluntarily causing grievous hurt to the elderly Singaporean.
Heated exchange led to aggressive act
She had been hired to look after the victim, who has mild dementia, on 14 August last year.
On 5 September, at about 8pm, the victim gestured at Sandar while talking to her. The exchange became heated, with Sandar standing close to the victim. The victim pushed Sandar lightly and the maid retaliated by raising her right fist in a threatening manner.
As the elderly woman backed away, Sandar pushed her on the chest forcefully, causing her to fall on the floor and hit her head against the wall. Sandar then left the woman on the floor and walked away.
She returned shortly afterward to yank the victim into an upright sitting position. She continued to behave in an aggressive manner, grabbed the victim’s forearms and speaking closely to her face.
As the elderly woman struggled in her grasp, Sandar slapped her face several times, pointed at her and scolded her.
After the incident, the domestic helper called the victim’s son and lied that the woman had a fall while at home. The son replied he would drop by later. Meanwhile, the elderly woman dragged herself across the floor into her bedroom.
The son came by two hours later and found his mother sleeping in her bedroom. He did not wake her up, but instead asked Sandar how she fell. Sandar repeated her lie that the woman fell backwards in the living room.
Multiple fractures on pelvis, hip and spine
The next morning, the son visited his mother again and saw the victim’s leg raised on a chair in the living room. When he asked why her leg was raised, Sandar did not respond. The son later found his mother in pain and unable to move her head and legs.
The woman was brought to the hospital, where she was found with multiple fractures on her pelvis, her right hip, and spine. One of the fractures was on the second spinal bone that keeps a person’s head in place.
Doctors suggested that the woman be treated conservatively with pain relievers and the use of a wheelchair.
As the woman was now bedridden, her children sent her to a nursing home. The woman regained her mobility but passed away on 2 January this year from causes unrelated to her injuries.
Denial of offence until confronted with CCTV footage
Three days after the incident, the victim’s daughter lodged a police report after reviewing the CCTV footage placed in the house. Sandar was brought to the hospital where she was found with scratch marks and bruises on her body.
Even after she was arrested, Sandar continued to deny the offence, insisting that her charge had fell and hit her head against the wall while trying to push the maid away.
She came clean only after the police confronted her with the CCTV footage, but still insisted that she acted in self-defence as the elderly woman had assaulted her.
Seeking a jail term of five-and-a-half years, the prosecution pointed out that the victim was a frail 92-year-old woman with dementia who was fully dependent on Sandar for care.
The prosecution argued that little mitigating weight should be given to Sandar’s plea of guilt, as she had refused to come clean initially.
For voluntarily causing grievous hurt, the maid could have been jailed up to seven years, and fined or caned.
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