Woman charged with blackmailing parents of dying child
PETALING JAYA A Malaysian woman is alleged to have tried to extort money from a young couple in Australia by demanding A$1,000 (S$960) for the return of a lost phone which contained the only photos of their dying baby daughter.
Parents Jay and Dee Windross launched a public appeal last week for the return of the mobile phone, which was lost in a shopping centre near Melbourne over the Easter long weekend.
They begged for the Samsung Galaxy S8 with a purple cover to be returned, no questions asked, as it contained priceless memories of their terminally ill daughter, reported The Age.
Siti Nurhidayah Kamal allegedly contacted the couple via WhatsApp on April 23 after they made desperate posts on social media to retrieve the phone, the Daily Mail reported.
She claimed she had the phone and wanted A$1,000.
Mr Windross said Siti continued to text him through the night while he had been trying to spend "every emotional minute" with his child.
"It was a hoax. Not only was it a complete and utter waste of my time, it was interrupting my final moments with my dying daughter," he said on Facebook.
His daughter Amiyah died in the early hours of April 24.
Siti was charged with blackmail in Melbourne yesterday.
9 News reported that after talking to police, Siti said she had never been in possession of the phone but had used the opportunity to get some "reward" money.
The couple were also in court yesterday to witness the proceedings, the Age reported.
The court heard Siti and her husband, who have two young children in Malaysia, both work as Uber Eats delivery cyclists in Melbourne and have been struggling financially.
Outside court, Mr and Mrs Windross said they were upset with Siti's claim that she was struggling with money.
"We have had to pay hospital bills, car parking, everything, our mortgage bills, our everything, and she is in there crying because they don't earn enough money," Mrs Windross said.
9 News reported that the magistrate refused bail, saying that Siti was a potential flight risk.
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