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Woman who tortured domestic help to death in Singapore gets 17 years in jail

Singapore, June 26 (IANS) An Indian-origin woman in Singapore, sentenced to 14 years’ jail for torturing a domestic help to death early this year, will be serving an additional three year term for asking her son-in-law to get rid of CCTV footage of her offences.

Prema S Naraynasamy, 64, pleaded guilty on Monday to one charge of instigating Kevin Chelvam, 44, a police officer, to do away with CCTV evidence of her offences against 24-year-old Piang Ngaih Don, The Straits Times reported.

Naraynasamy, who would now serve a total jail term of 17 years, had pleaded guilty to 47 charges of voluntarily causing hurt to Myanmar national Piang, and one charge of attempting to voluntarily cause hurt to the domestic worker in January this year.

Principal District Judge Jill Tan said a total sentence of 17 years would not be crushing and appropriately reflect the heinousness of Naraynasamy’s crimes.

The court heard on June 15 that Naraynasamy, knowing that the surveillance cameras in the flat would have captured the abuse, asked Chelvam to dismantle and disconnect the recorder from the camera and to hand the device to her.

When Naraynasamy’s daughter-in-law, Isabella, arrived at the flat later that day, she hid the recorder in Isabella’s bag. While Isabella was unaware of the significance of the recorder, Naraynasamy told her to “do something with it”.

Isabella then passed the recorder to her husband, who gave it to a friend. Isabella and her husband handed the footage to the police when investigators turned up at their home, The Times reported.

Footage recorded between June and July 2016 by cameras installed in their three-bedroom flat in Bishan showed Naraynasamy kicking and punching the victim, and pulling her up from the ground by her hair and shaking her head violently. Naraynasamy also used objects like a bamboo pole and chopping board to hit Piang. Days before her death, Piang was tied to a window grille, and assaulted if she tried to rummage the dustbin for food.

Chelvam faces multiple charges in relation to the abuse, and is claiming trial, and his case is expected to be heard in July, The Times reported. He has been suspended from the police force since August 2016, days after Piang died.

After 14 months of repeated torture, Piang, mother to a three-year-old boy, died of brain injury with severe blunt trauma to her neck on July 26, 2016 in one of Singapore’s worst cases of domestic help abuse.

The court heard earlier that Piang was starved and lost 15 kg during her 14 months of employment with the family, weighing only 24 kg when she died.

While assaulting the victim, Naraynasamy was joined by her 43-year-old daughter Gaiyathiri Murugayan, who was sentenced on June 22, 2021 to 30 years in prison — the longest jail term meted out in a domestic abuse case in Singapore.

After refusing the maid her dinner, Gaiyathiri tied the victim’s wrist to a window grille and kicked her in the stomach before leaving her on the floor. Even when the victim was unresponsive, the mother-daughter duo refused to call for an ambulance or the police. An autopsy report found a total of 31 recent scars and 47 external injuries all over the domestic help’s body.

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