Maid mixed Dettol into cordial that 2 children drank because she wanted to avoid doing work

Shaffiq Alkhatib
The Straits Times
November 9, 2023

An underage Indonesian maid mixed some Dettol antiseptic into a bottle of Ribena cordial and three people, including two children, later drank the tainted drink.

The trio did not fall sick and Mila Rindi Antika’s employer alerted the police on Aug 6, 2023.

The 18-year-old maid later claimed that she had been emotionally abused and stated, among other things, that she had not been given enough food.

However, she was not found to be underweight following an examination.

Mila also said that she had decided to commit the offence as she wanted to avoid doing work.

On Thursday, she was sentenced to four months’ jail after she pleaded guilty to performing a rash act that could cause hurt to others.

The Ministry of Manpower’s website stated that maids must be at least 23 years old during their work permit application.

Court documents did not state if any parties will face legal action over the issue involving Mila’s age.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Phoebe Tan said that a woman had earlier employed Mila to work in her home.

The employer’s two grandsons, aged 10 and 11, visited her around three times a week, and she would always stock up on Ribena for them.

No one else was around on the morning of Aug 4 when Mila mixed some Dettol into a bottle of the cordial. She then put the Dettol bottle in the far end of a cabinet where the antiseptic was usually stored. 

The DPP told the court: “The accused did so in the kitchen cabinet area, where she thought the (closed-circuit television cameras in her employer’s home) would not face. The accused... hoped that her employers would consume the tainted Ribena.”

Mila was also aware that the two children often drank Ribena when they came to visit.

Later that day, her employer prepared Ribena drinks for her 32-year-old son and the two boys.

The man detected a chemical taste in the tainted drink but dismissed the thought soon after. The 11-year-old also drank some Ribena but did not complain.

His younger brother, however, told his grandmother that the drink tasted weird. She examined his cup and noticed a strong chemical smell coming from it.

She thought that Mila had not washed the cup properly, and was about to pour the drink into the new cup when her sister opened the Ribena bottle and detected a chemical smell coming from it.

The employer asked Mila if she had added anything to the cordial, but the maid denied doing so.

The employer did not probe further, and kept the Ribena bottle in her room.

Two days later, she saw the bottle of Dettol inside the cabinet and alerted the police.

Urging the court to sentence Mila to between five and six months’ jail, DPP Tan stressed that two young children had drunk the contaminated cordial.

For committing the offence, the maid could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.

The Straits Times

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