Singaporean woman sentenced to 30 years for death of migrant maid

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A Singaporean woman has been sentenced by the country’s high court to 30 years in prison for killing her Burmese maid after more than a year of abuse that included starving, torture and beatings.

Gaiyathiri Murugayan pleaded guilty in February to 28 charges including culpable homicide, voluntarily causing grievous hurt by starvation, voluntarily causing hurt by a heated substance and wrongful restraint.

The court heard that the victim, Myanmar national Piang Ngaih Don, 24, came to Singapore to work for Murugayan in May 2015 in what was her first job overseas and was subjected to 14 months of beating that culminated in her death in 2016.

Judge See Kee Oon said that though Murugayan, 40, suffered significant psychiatric problems, the offences she committed were abhorrent and done with purpose.

“The extremely aggravated and horrific circumstances of the offences are crucial considerations that tip the scales towards retribution and deterrence,” the judge said in sentencing, according to a transcript provided by the court.

“She was cognisant of her actions and purposeful in her conduct. She did not lack capacity to comprehend what she was doing.”

Murugayan’s lawyer, Joseph Chen, said a family member of his client had asked him to file an appeal seeking a shorter prison term of 15 to 16 years so she could still spend time with her children upon her release.

“People with psychiatric disorder look at things differently, they cannot pull themselves out of the situation,” he said. “To the family member, the 30 years sentence is as bad as life imprisonment.” (Source: The Guardian)

 

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