x Abu Dhabi, UAE Thursday 20 July 2017

Maid killed baby because she was angry at co-worker, Abu Dhabi court hears

Footage taken by a video camera in the baby's bedroom that showed the maid taking away the baby and returning it after the attack spread on social media and BlackBerry devices.

ABU DHABI // A maid killed a three-month-old baby by smashing its head on a wooden table because she was annoyed at her co-worker, a court heard today.

ST, from Indonesia, waited until the child's nanny, Filipina J, was showering before grabbing the baby girl from her room and smashing her head repeatedly. She then returned the dead body.

Footage taken by a video camera in the baby's bedroom that showed the maid taking away the baby and returning it after the attack spread on social media and BlackBerry devices.

A forensics report found the baby's skull had been broken in several places and that the injuries were caused by repeated impacts with a hard object. However, in court the maid claimed she had hit the baby's head only once against the table. She said that everytime she saw the baby it reminded her of her rivalry with the nanny. She said she did not mean to kill the baby, but only to hurt it so she could frame the nanny.

"A baby's head this age is as soft as a boiled egg," commented Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer.

He noted that the maid seemed to regret her actions, and asked her if she was sane. She said she was, but agreed to undergo a psychiatric test.

During police investigations the maid said she was suffering "emotional issues". She had arrived to work for the family shortly after her fiance of six years left her for another woman.

She said she noticed the baby had a scar on her face, and thought that if she caused another injury the family would blame the nanny.

In court, the nanny told the judge she had not realised how much the maid hated her. "I even bought her a gift when I travelled with the family to Saudi Arabia," recalled the nanny.

She said that when she returned from her shower and went to check on the baby the little girl inhaled rapidly three times. "Similar to one when their soul is withdrawn," noted Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Baseer.

She and the baby's grandmother called for the maid to bring water to help them treat the baby, but "she never answered us so I went and got the water myself".

The judge asked whether she had immediately suspected the maid. "I was only focused on the baby... she did not come to my mind at all," said the nanny.

She said the maid had seemed perfectly normal and sane to her and said her desire to hurt her through hurting the baby did not make sense.

"Why take it out on the baby, she could have attacked me directly."

The Criminal Court adjourned the case to June 17 as the baby's mother is out of the country. All the baby's immediate relatives must sign a decision on whether to demand the death penalty or not.

hdajani@thenational.ae