Yesterday, 20 September, a domestic helper was sentenced to three years in jail after she pleaded guilty to attempting to poison a three-month-old baby by mixing detergent into the infant's milk powder
According to a report in TODAY Online, the 29-year-old domestic worker's three-year sentence is backdated to 10 July 2019, the date of her remand.
The incident happened on 7 September last year, when the 29-year-old from Indonesia filled a milk powder scoop with Vanish Power O2 and Fab detergent powder until it was three-quarters full, and poured it into a tin of Karihome Goat Milk Infant Formula.
She was jealous of another domestic worker, who was assigned to take care of the infant. In her jealousy, she wanted to get her in trouble as she felt she had a heavier workload than her fellow maid.
At the time of the incident, the convicted maid had been working for the family for more than three years. However, last year, the family hired another maid, a 25-year-old helper from Myanmar, to help look after the baby.
The baby's grandparents had a house near Hougang Avenue 1 in Singapore, where the two helpers would occasionally work together.
Last year, on the day of the incident, when the Indonesian helper was at the victim's grandparents' house ironing clothes, she entered the kitchen and took a milk powder scoop from a cabinet and hid it, reported Yahoo News.
She would later use the milk powder scoop to mix detergent into baby milk powder, knowing that the milk powder was used to feed the three-month-old baby girl.
However, the senior maid's attempt to poison the baby didn't succeed as the mother noticed pink and black particles at the bottom of the baby's milk bottle while she was making milk using the contaminated milk powder the next day
According to Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Zhou Yang, the mother noticed the pink and black particles while shaking the milk bottle to ensure that the milk powder had dissolved properly, reported The Straits Times.
"The mother put the first milk bottle aside, used another milk bottle to make milk using the contaminated milk powder, and this time she noticed blue particles in the milk bottle," the DPP said, adding that the mother then detected a detergent-like smell from the tin containing the contaminated milk powder.
When she sensed something was wrong, she used breast milk to feed her baby.
The maid was arrested the next day after the family investigated the incident and narrowed down the suspects to the accused
DPP Zhou said the maid later admitted to mixing the detergent powder with the milk powder as she felt that she was given "more work as compared to other maids".
He stressed that the substance was "almost consumed by the baby" although the maid's acts arose "purely (out of) personal vendetta on the other maid", which could have inflicted "potential life-threatening harm" to the infant, reported TODAY Online.
"No qualms using an infant as a tool"
During sentencing, District Judge Prem Raj noted the seriousness of the offence and that this case was "especially troubling" as the accused had "no qualms using an infant as a tool", just because she was frustrated with the way work was allocated.
"This was a planned and premeditated offence with active steps taken to avoid detection. So deliberate - that she filled the milk powder scoop with two different types of detergent," he said, adding that the infant was at "a tender age where her digestive system" had not yet fully developed.
"But for the fortuitous intervention by the mother, the offence would have in all likelihood be completed, and an innocent child ... would have been harmed.
"The victim that the accused specifically and deliberately targeted was an innocent, vulnerable and defenceless infant," he said.
While the maid could have been given up to five years' jail, the judge took into account the maid's early plea of guilt and her cooperation with authorities.