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Lawyer for maid who slashed and stabbed her employer nearly 100 times claims she suffers from mental illness and pleads for a lighter sentence

A domestic worker who stabbed and slashed her employer more than 90 times in 2016 lost her appeal for a lighter sentence based on her claim that she has mental illness.

Thursday, March 31, the conviction for murder of Daryati, a 29-year-old Indonesian national, was confirmed by the Court of Appeal. She was sentenced to life imprisonment in April 2021.

Daryati, who only goes by this name, killed his employer, Madame Seow Kim Choo, on June 7, 2016 at Madame Seow’s home in Telok Kurau.

Mdm Seow, 59, was discovered with 98 stab wounds, most of which were to the head and neck.

The assistant admitted to repeatedly stabbing her employer in the face and neck, as well as slitting her throat, when she was interviewed by police between June 8 and July 26, 2016.

Mdm Seow had prevented Daryati from getting her passport and stealing her as the aide tried to return home to Indonesia.

Daryati’s lawyer, Mr Leon Koh, pleaded for a conviction of culpable homicide instead of murder, saying the housekeeper suffered from a persistent depressive disorder.

This condition, the lawyer added, diminished responsibility for his actions.

Mr Koh, who was representing Daryati pro bono, had told the Supreme Court that it was ‘not normal’ for the aide to repeatedly cut and stab Mdm Seow since being treated kindly by the family of his employer.

Therefore, he argued, the attack was caused by his mental illness.

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However, the judges pointed out that the background to the stabbing – that Daryati’s plans to rob the employer and flee to Indonesia – had been discovered and foiled by Mdm Seow, which angered the aide.

The judges added that Daryati was able to carry out her duties well in Mdm Seow’s household and showed no signs of weakening, adding that she also showed a ‘substantial degree of conspiracy’ which “showed ability to plan ahead and clear reason,” reported the Straits Times.

“During the formulation of her plan to steal money, retrieve her passport and escape, she drew a map detailing the layout of the house, enlisted the help of (another maid who worked for the family) and put a lot of thought into choosing the most opportune time to strike,” read Justice Andrew Phang, who handed down the Supreme Court ruling. /TISG

Lawyer in Telok Kurau murder claims maid was in ‘oppressed state’ when she gave statements to police

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