Myanmar maid who stabbed employer’s mum-in-law 26 times gets life term for murder
A domestic worker convicted of murder by stabbing her employer’s mother-in-law 26 times, after the 70-year-old woman threatened to send her back to Myanmar, was sentenced to life imprisonment on Tuesday.
Zin Mar Nwe, who is now 22, was found guilty of murder by the High Court in May.
When the Myanmar national came to work in Singapore in January 2018, she was instructed by her agent to declare her age as 23, but investigations revealed she was 17 at the time.
She started working for her third employer, Mr S, on May 10, 2018. On May 26 that year, the family of four was joined by the man’s mother-in-law, who had come to Singapore from India for a one-month stay.
On June 25, 2018, the two women were alone in the flat when the maid grabbed a knife from the kitchen and stabbed the victim multiple times.
The maid left the unit with some cash and went to her agency to ask for her passport, but left when she heard that the staff there were about to call her employer.
She roamed around for five hours before returning to the agency, where she was arrested.
The victim and her family members cannot be identified owing to a gag order as one of the witnesses in the trial is below 18.
After her arrest, the maid denied stabbing the victim and pinned the blame on two men. She later admitted she had stabbed the victim.
During her trial, Zin Mar Nwe‘s assigned lawyer, Mr Christopher Bridges, argued that she should instead be convicted of culpable homicide, relying on psychiatric opinion of Dr Tommy Tan that the maid was suffering from adjustment disorder with mixed anxiety and depressed mood at the time.
But Justice Andre Maniam rejected this defence. He said he preferred the opinion of Dr Alias Lijo, that the maid was not suffering from any mental illness at the time that reduced her responsibility for her actions.
The judge also did not accept Dr Tan’s opinion that the maid was in a “dissociative state” at the time of the stabbing. He found that the maid was conscious that she was stabbing the victim.
He noted that she could remember details of the stabbing, and was able to describe the stabbing to the police.
That undermined Dr Tan’s conclusion that her mind was not conscious of what she was doing, said the judge.