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Woman Who Tortured, Killed Maid Gets 30 Years

Singaporean woman's employee weighed just 53 pounds when she died
By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Jun 22, 2021 4:40 PM CDT

(Newser) – A Singapore woman has been sentenced to 30 years in prison in what authorities say was one of the worst cases of "maid abuse" imaginable. Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 40, pleaded guilty earlier this year to dozens of charges, including culpable homicide, in the 2016 death of live-in domestic worker Piang Ngaih Don, the BBC reports. Prosecutors said the 24-year-old Myanmar national, who arrived in Singapore in October 2015, was humiliated, starved, tortured, and killed by Muruguyan, the wife of a policeman. Piang weighed just 53 pounds when she died in July 2016 after being assaulted several times in a few hours. Prosecutors said Muruguyan's 61-year-old mother sometimes joined in the assaults.

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The sickening abuse was captured on CCTV installed in the family's home, reports the South China Morning Post. Prosecutors said Piang was stamped on, choked, hit with brooms, and burned with an iron. Her meals often consisted only of bread soaked in water. Defense lawyers argued for a shorter sentence, saying Muruguyan had been diagnosed with post-partum depression and obsessive compulsive personality disorder, the Straits Times reports. Prosecutors said the conditions were the reason Muruguan wasn't charged with murder—but they shouldn't be a "free pass" for her "cruel and heinous" behavior. "The violence is a function of the accused viewing the victim as a lesser human being," the deputy public prosecutor said. (Read more Singapore stories.)

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