Maid allegedly kills toddler by punching and tightly gripping her neck at Simei flat

Amir Hussain
The Straits Times
May 10, 2016

An Indonesian maid was on Tuesday (May 10) charged over the death of a toddler in her care.

Maryani Usman Utar, 30, had allegedly caused the death of one-year-old Richelle Teo Yan Jia "by punching her on her neck and gripping her neck tightly with all your strength until she stopped crying, with the knowledge that such acts were likely to cause her death".

Maryani has been charged with committing culpable homicide not amounting to murder, with the knowledge that it is likely to cause death, but not intention to cause death or injury likely to cause death.

She allegedly committed the offence between 2am and 7.36am on Sunday (May 8), at Block 225 Simei Street 4.

If convicted of the charge, she faces a maximum sentence of 10 years' jail and a fine.

Maryani stood expressionless in the dock as an Indonesian interpreter read her charge out to her.

District Judge Christopher Goh granted the police prosecutor's request to remand her for a week, with permission to be taken out for investigations.

The case will be mentioned again on May 17.

Maryani was arrested after Richelle was found unconscious by her father at home on Sunday morning with bruises on her neck and head.

The girl's lips had reportedly turned purple, and she was pronounced dead in hospital just after 10am.

Maryani was not at home when the toddler was found unconscious as it was her day off, reported Chinese evening daily Lianhe Wanbao. She had reportedly been out since 8am.

Police arrested Maryani in the Marina Bay Area later that day.

She was taken back to the Housing Board flat by investigators on Monday.

She is believed to have worked for the family for more than a year. It was her first job in Singapore.

Richelle's family were at the mortuary on Monday to identify her body, reported evening daily Shin Min Daily News. They included her parents, elder brother, aunt and grandparents.

Richelle had reportedly celebrated her first birthday just five days before her death.

This article was first published on May 10, 2016. 
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