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Homesick maid on trial for brutal murder of boss

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Maid on trial for brutal murder of employer, who had 98 knife wounds

A month after starting work for a family in Telok Kurau, an Indonesian maid became so homesick and filled with longing for her lover in Hong Kong that she hatched a "ruthless plan" to kill her employer.

Daryati, 26, wanted to get her passport and steal money to return home, prosecutors told the High Court yesterday on the first day of her murder trial.

She faces the death penalty for stabbing and slashing Madam Seow Kim Choo on June 7, 2016, leaving the 59-year-old with 98 knife wounds.

In opening its case against Daryati, the prosecution cited what she wrote in her diary.

The translated entry read: "I must carry out this plan quickly. I have to be brave even though life is at stake... My employer's family is my target. DEATH!!!"

Deputy Public Prosecutor Wong Kok Weng said these words were in effect a confession of the "brutal and cold-blooded" killing, which she would eventually perpetrate.

He said the prosecution will rely on Daryati's police statements in which she confessed to slitting Madam Seow's neck and stabbing her multiple times.

Daryati started working for the family on April 13, 2016. Her passport was in a safe in the master bedroom and only Madam Seow and her husband, Mr Ong Thiam Soon, had the keys.

The DPP said Daryati devised a plan to kill Madam Seow as early as May 12. She roped in the other maid to help but did not say the plan involved murder.

Daryati told fellow Indonesian, Ms Don Hayati, 27, to turn off the closed-circuit TV and electricity supply so they could steal money and escape while Mr Ong, then 57, was trying to restart the power.

In the days before she stabbed Madam Seow, who she described to police as "a very nice person", Daryati hid weapons on the second storey, said the DPP.

On June 7, she carried out the plan, said the DPP.

Daryati went up to the master bedroom, saying "jaga bawah", or guard downstairs, to Ms Hayati, who has not been charged.

After handing Madam Seow a pair of trousers, she took out a knife and demanded her passport.

When Madam Seow shouted, Daryati dragged her to the toilet, closed the door and slashed and stabbed her neck, head and face until she collapsed. Daryati then retrieved the knife she had hidden under the sink and stabbed her in the neck until she was motionless, said the DPP.

By this time, Mr Ong was in the room and calling out for his wife. As there was no response, he used a screwdriver on the door but was stabbed in the neck after the door opened.

He restrained Daryati and took her to the main gate. Madam Seow was pronounced dead at the scene by paramedics.

An autopsy report stated she died from multiple incised and stab wounds to the head and neck. A psychiatric report said Daryati had adjustment disorder but this did not diminish her responsibility for her actions.

Daryati faces a second charge for the attempted murder of Mr Ong, but it has been stood down for now.