x Abu Dhabi, UAEFriday 28 July 2017

Maid 'strangled baby by accident'

A housemaid accused of killing her newborn baby by strangling him with her underwear did so by accident, her lawyer told a court.

ABU DHABI// A housemaid accused of killing her newborn baby by strangling him with her underwear did so by accident, her lawyer said yesterday.

The maid, FJ, from the Philippines, had previously told the Court of First Instance that she gave birth in her room at her employer's home and had started to clean the boy's neck with her underwear but passed out from the pain. She woke to find the child dead.

Her lawyer admitted in court yesterday that the baby had been born alive and asked for the charge to be changed to one of "murder by mistake".

Forensics reports showed that the underwear was tied tightly around the baby's neck. "They had to cut it off with scissors," said Chief Justice Sayed Abdul Basser.

After giving birth, FJ went to hospital. The baby's body was found in a bag in her wardrobe.

Public prosecutor Hassan Al Hammadi demanded the harshest punishment possible for the crime, which he said "shook society and caused its heart to bleed from how horrific the crime was. The defendant forgot about God and rejected his blessing, she got rid of any motherly feelings".

The woman's lawyer argued that if she had wanted to get rid of her baby she could have done so in the Philippines.

The court will announce a verdict on June 12.

hdajani@thenational.ae