x Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 22 July 2017

RAK maid sentenced to death in double murder case

The woman had worked for her employer for 10 days before she stabbed the wife 117 times and set fire to the house, burning their 2-year-old child to death.

RAS AL KHAIMAH // A housemaid was yesterday sentenced to death by firing squad for stabbing her employer 117 times and killing their 2-year-old daughter in a blaze.

The Court of First Instance in Ras Al Khaimah heard the woman, 23, from Ethiopia, had worked for the family for only 10 days before she murdered the wife and set the flat on fire as the child slept.

Yesterday’s final hearing was attended by the dead woman’s Emirati husband, Ibrahim Salim Al Mansoori, and his wife’s sister, who sat four seats away from the accused in the women’s section.

Mr Al Mansoori said yesterday he had no interest in a blood-money settlement and wanted to see justice served through the death penalty as soon as possible.

“I am very satisfied with this hearing and the news we received today,” he said.

“The case has taken a long time and I’m very tired. I went crazy when I lost my wife and I didn’t know what to do.

“I will never forgive [the maid]. I want her to be sentenced to death and I am the one who asked the judge for this penalty.”

The court heard the maid was cutting vegetables before fajr prayer during Ramadan last year when she argued with the mother.

Prosecutors said the wife threatened the maid with deportation, after which the maid stabbed her in the torso, lungs, kidneys, back and head.

They said the maid put the body in the bedroom with the sleeping toddler, washed herself, put her bloodstained clothing in a bag, set the bag on fire and threw it into the bedroom, where the fire quickly spread.

The child died of smoke inhalation and the apartment was gutted, the court heard.

At the time of the murder, a senior RAK police official said gold, jewellery, money and a mobile phone belonging to the victim had been reported missing.

Mr Al Mansoori told police he suspected the maid was involved and a search for her began.

“Investigators found and arrested the maid in another emirate where she was staying with female compatriots,” said Lt Col Salim Al Darmaki, the head of the emirate’s CID.

Police said that after her arrest, the woman gave a full confession and said the woman was abusive. She had been living in the country for 20 days before her arrest.

She had already worked for two other Emirati families and been dismissed before her employment agency sent her to the home of Mr Al Mansoori.

Residents of the apartment block said they did not hear anything unusual on the night of the murder and had no idea there were serious problems.

The first court hearing took place on December 13 last year. The court finally reached its verdict after eight hearings held over a year, primarily to assess the woman’s sanity at the time of the crime. She was found to be of sound mind.

The case will now be sent to the Appellate Court within 15 days and then to the High Court if the death penalty is upheld. The death sentence must be agreed to unanimously by a panel of three judges for it to be upheld.

The death warrant must also be signed by the Ruler of RAK, who has the power to pardon the defendant.

The last execution in RAK was in February 2008, when an Emirati was executed by firing squad for a double murder.

Five men were sentenced to death in RAK for drug smuggling in February last year, but their execution order has yet to be carried out.

azacharias@thenational.ae