Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 40, plead guilty to 28 charges pertaining to the abuse and eventual death of her maid in 2015. The victim, Piang Ngaih Don, from Myanmar, was reportedly assaulted and tortured daily until her eventual death on July 26, 2016. The most serious charge was one count of culpable homicide.
Gaiyathiri was reportedly the wife of 41-year-old Kevin Chelvam, a former member of the Singapore Police Force, who also faces charges along with his wife and her mother pertaining to Piang’s death.
What happened to the Myanmar maid who died because of her employer?
According to an Asia One report, CCTV footage of Piang’s abuse was played during the trial. The unsettling videos featured several instances of maltreatment and violence against the Burmese woman perpetrated by Gaiyathiri and Kevin, sometimes with their toddler in the shot.
Gaiyathiri’s mother, 61-year-old Prema S. Naraynasamy was sometimes in the shot and inflicted harm on Piang as well. She also faces charges related to the Burmese woman’s death.
Myanmar maid Piang Ngaih Don’s abuse
The same Asia One report said that Piang suffered horrendously before her choking, injuries, and starvation finally caused her demise.
The abuse lasted ten months, and happened daily. She was not allowed enough food and rest, and did not have any privacy. She could not use the toilet or shower with the door to the bathroom closed.
Her meals usually comprised only bread soaked in water and cold leftovers from the family’s refrigerator. Usually, she could only eat late at night. She was only allowed to sleep five hours at night and was forced to wear face masks in 2016 because her employer thought she was unhygienic.
Footage showed in court depicted Piang being shaken violently like she was a rag doll. The CCTV cameras were only installed in the last month of her life, but it showed daily instances of horrific abuse.
Video evidence also included Gaiyathiri pouring cold water on the victim. Piang was slapped, pushed, punched, kicked, and stomped on while she was on the ground.
Gaiyathiri also used a plastic bottle or a metal cooking implement to hit Piang. The victim suffered burns from a heated iron, as well as choking and being pulled by the hair–all thanks to her employer.
How did the maid from Myanmar die?
The grisly details of Piang’s last day were revealed in court. On July 25, Gaiyathiri assaulted Piang for doing the laundry too slowly. The incident occurred between 11:40 to 11:55 in the evening. The husband and wife then took turns pouring water on her and inflicted violence as well. After their horrific abuse, they left Piang tied to the window grill without having dinner.
In the morning, Gaiyathiri kicked and abused Piang again, especially around her head and neck area. Piang’s employer pulled her hair roughly and exposed her neck, choking her repeatedly.
At 7:30 in the morning, Piang was no longer moving, and Kevin left for work. When Piang could not be revived, he decided to call for a doctor. Gaiyathiri then asked for a medical house call two hours later, and lied to the nurse who came that she found the victim on the floor.
When the doctor (who was not yet at the scene) suggested to call for an ambulance, Gaiyathiri did not agree and instead wanted to wait for the former to arrive.
The nurse and Gaiyathiri changed Piang out of her wet clothes and laid her onto the sofa.
However, when the doctor arrived, Piang was declared dead. Gaiyathiri and the nurse were shocked at the announcement, saying that the victim had moved just moments ago. When the doctor asked to call the police, Gaiyathiri asked to wait for her husband before doing so.
Gaiyathiri denied beating Piang when the doctor asked her, and an ambulance was finally called.
Why did Piang die?
Autopsy report said that Piang’s body had 31 scars pertaining to recent wounds and 47 external injuries. The choking Piang experienced on July 25 was the cause of death, which deprived oxygen to her brain.
This was the first time Piang worked in Singapore. She left a three-year-old child at home in Myanmar.
Prosecutors downgraded the charge of murder for Giayathiri to culpable homicide when psychiatric assessment revealed she suffered from mental illness.