Date
15 December 2018
A High Court judge sent an Indian domestic helper to a mental hospital as the maid was suspected to be suffering from severe psychosis when she killed a toddler in her care two years ago. Photo: HKEJ
A High Court judge sent an Indian domestic helper to a mental hospital as the maid was suspected to be suffering from severe psychosis when she killed a toddler in her care two years ago. Photo: HKEJ

Maid who killed toddler sentenced to mental hospital

A 24-year-old domestic helper who had pleaded guilty to killing a child under her care was on Tuesday ordered to a mental hospital by a Hong Kong court, with a judge saying that he was convinced that the maid was suffering from a serious disorder of the mind. 

Deputy High Court judge Gareth John Lugar-Mawson said the defendant, an Indian national, needed mental health treatment given her behavior and the nature of her crime.

The maid is to be placed in a mental hospital for an indefinite period of time, the judge said, noting that his decision was based on psychiatrists’ suggestion.

The hospital order came after the domestic helper earlier pleaded guilty to manslaughter, in a case in which her employer’s toddler son was the victim.

The court heard earlier that the defendant, Arshdeep Kaur, now 24, started working in March 2016 for an Indian family living in an apartment building in Tin Shui Wai, Apple Daily reports.

The family included a two-and-a-half-year-old boy, named Ekamjot Singh, who was the offspring of the Indian couple.

According to reports, the parents kept an eye on their son through surveillance cameras installed at their flat while they were away working.

On Oct. 24, 2016, the day when a strangling incident happened, the maid was the only person at home taking care of the toddler.

On the morning of the day, the toddler’s mother found the cameras were switched off. She called home anxiously, but was unable to reach the maid, prompting her to ask a neighbor for help. The neighbor then sent a domestic helper to the mother’s home.

After going into the flat, the neighbor’s domestic helper found Singh lying unconscious in bed.

The toddler was immediately taken to hospital, where he was pronounced dead.

Police later found the maid, who, after questioning, admitted to grabbing the boy by the throat and killing him. She was charged with manslaughter and brought to prosecution. 

According to reports, the maid claimed that she had been possessed by spirits when she committed the crime.

During the hearing, the defendant’s lawyer told the court that the maid had no record of drug abuse or alcoholism, and that she was genuinely remorseful for what she did to the victim.

Several reports from psychiatrists were submitted by the lawyer to the court, recommending that the maid be treated in a hospital indefinitely for the acute and transient mental illness.

Accepting the suggestion, judge Lugar-Mawson ruled that the maid should not be discharged from hospital unless her doctors certify her complete recovery and the doctors and the Chief Executive approve the discharge.

The judge noted that Kaur’s actions were “terrible” and that he was giving a hospital order in order to ensure the safety of the public as well as the maid herself.

The victim’s mother had earlier said that she could not understand why the maid committed the crime, since the helper appeared to be ok and taking nice care of the boy. 

The lady said she did not believe the maid had a mental illness.

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TL/JC/RC

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