x Abu Dhabi, UAEThursday 18 January 2018

Maid 'killed mother and daughter'

A housemaid stabbed her employer 70 times before killing the woman's two-year-old daughter by setting fire to the home, according to police.

DUBAI // A housemaid stabbed her employer 70 times before killing the woman's two-year-old daughter by setting fire to the home on Saturday, according to police. The 21-year-old African maid fled the scene, but she was found by police hiding in another emirate less than 24 hours later and arrested on suspicion of murder, said Lt Col Salim Sultan al Darmaki, the chief of the Ras al Khaimah CID.

The apartment was completely gutted by the blaze, leaving not much more than the toddler's two bikes, which yesterday lay abandoned in the smoke-streaked corridors of the building. The killings happened in the Nakheel area of RAK, said the watchman at the building, who spoke on condition of anonymity. He said he spotted the fire at 8.30am and called police, who arrived within minutes. "There was lots of smoke and broken glass everywhere," he said.

According to Lt Col al Darmaki, a fire was reported inside the flat where the bodies of a 35-year-old Arab woman and her daughter were found. Police immediately launched a search in a bid to find the housemaid. The deceased's Emirati husband told police the maid had started working for the family only 10 days before the deaths. "Investigators found and arrested the maid in another emirate, where she was staying with female compatriots," said Lt Col al Darmaki. The maid, who had been living in the country for just 20 days before her arrest, had already been sacked by two Emirati families before her employment agency sent her to the home where she allegedly killed the mother and child. Police forensic reports show that the woman died from stab wounds while the child died from smoke inhalation. Lt Col al Darmaki said the maid confessed to police claiming she killed the Arab woman because she mistreated her. Police say that the two women got into an argument and the maid was told she would be sent back to the employment agency. The mother contacted the agency and ordered the maid to pack her belongings. The maid then stabbed the woman 70 times in different parts of her body and placed her blood soaked clothes in a bag before setting light to it and fleeing. The fire swept through the flat, killing the little girl."She said in her confession that her work was continuously criticised by her employer and they had repeated arguments during which the Arab woman threatened to fire her and send her home," said Lt Col al Darmaki. Lt Col al Darmaki warned the hiring of maids should not be taken lightly. "The decision to employ a servant at home should be taken with a lot of care and caution, and people should always try to treat each other better and avoid conflicts that can lead to such disasters," he said. The case has been referred to the public prosecutor. amustafa@thenational.ae * With additional reporting by Anna Zacharias