Maid who spat at and hit elderly stroke patient jailed 10 weeks

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
Hands of an old man.
Hands of an old man. (PHOTO: Getty Images)

SINGAPORE — She was hired to care for a elderly man who was bedridden, but the domestic worker smacked him multiple times and even spat in his face.

Aye Aye Than, who is from Myanmar, was caught on CCTV committing the acts to the 72-year-old man, who had to be fed daily through a tube.

The 26-year-old maid was jailed for 10 weeks on Thursday (3 June) after she pleaded guilty to one count of causing hurt to a vulnerable victim, with another three charges of using criminal force taken into consideration for her sentencing.

The victim resided at a flat with his daughter and wife. After a series of strokes, the most serious of which was in 2019, the victim became bedridden as he had lost all strength in his lower body. His upper body also weakened, and he could not grip things or support his own weight.

The man could only move around with assistance. As he easily choked on food, he was intubated and fed a liquid diet through a tube from the nose to his stomach. He also had difficulties speaking, which caused him pain.

Aye Aye Than was hired in part to care for the elderly man from 2 January 2020 to 7 February this year. She was tasked to feed the elderly man five times a day, remove his phlegm by tube and machine when needed, change his diapers and clean him, and transfer him between his bed and wheelchair.

After she was hired, Aye Aye Than was trained by staff at Ren Ci community hospital, where the man underwent rehabilitation, to perform her duties.

On 5 February this year, while attending to the victim in the morning, the maid smacked the victim’s right arm forcefully. She then spat on his face. CCTV footage of the incident played in court showed that the man was unable to retaliate.

Later that afternoon, she grabbed the elderly man by the back of his head forcefully twice. The maid was seen in video footage gesturing at herself and patting her waist before transferring the man into his wheelchair from the bed in a forceful manner.

In mitigation and speaking through an interpreter, Aye Aye Than said, “I would like to plead that I’m sorry for my acts. I am the (breadwinner) for my parents who are old back in Myanmar. I would like to go back as soon as possible. Pleading for your honour’s leniency and for the shortest possible sentence.”

Asked by District Judge Luke Tan about her parents’ age, Aye Aye Than replied that her mother was 50 and her father was 48.

Noting the victim’s vulnerability and Aye Aye Than’s status as a caregiver, DJ Tan said, “The only thing that has to be said in her favour is that she pleaded guilty, so thankfully there is no need for… the victim to testify in court if that was indeed even possible.”

After the judge passed the sentence on her, the maid thanked the judge, prompting DJ Tan to say, “I just hope that after this is over and you are released, whether here in Singapore or elsewhere, these sort of things don’t happen with you again.

“If you are thinking of taking care of your parents who are even younger than the victim, then I think you should reflect on what you have done.” The maid replied “okay” to both statements.

For causing hurt, she could have been jailed up to three years, or fined up to $5,000, or both. For causing hurt to a vulnerable person, her maximum sentence could have been doubled.

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