Underage maid jailed for adding Dettol to cordial, 2 children later drank tainted drink
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 Indonesian 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 in the morning of Aug 4 when Mila mixed some Dettol into a bottle of the cordial.
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.
After contaminating the drink, she put the Dettol bottle in the far end of a cabinet where the antiseptic was usually stored.
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.
The woman initially thought that Mila had not washed the cup properly, so she took another one.
Before the grandmother poured the drink into the new cup, her sister opened the contaminated 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 grandmother, who did not probe further, then kept the bottle of contaminated Ribena 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 drank the contaminated cordial.
For committing the offence, the maid could have been jailed for up to a year and fined up to $5,000.