Singapore woman who tortured and starved domestic worker with her daughter jailed 14 years

64-year-old Prema S. Naraynasamy has been sentenced to 14 years’ jail on Jan. 9 for torturing a domestic worker from Myanmar to death.

She had teamed up with her daughter to abuse 24-year-old Piang Ngaih Don.

Prema was present in court and apparently had no reaction when Principal District Judge Toh Han Li issued the sentence.

Her sentence will be backdated to the date of arrest on Jul. 26, 2016.

Abuse and humiliation went on for 15 days

Deputy Public Prosecutor (DPP) Senthilkumaran Sabapathy said in his submissions that this was one of Singapore’s worst abuse cases of a foreign domestic worker.

The torture of Piang took place over 15 days and it is said that the mother and daughter had used bare hands as well as various items like a bamboo pole and chopping board to abuse her.

The DPP also said that the abuse involved a high degree of physical and psychological harm to which Prema is highly culpable.

He added, “The deceased was dragged and thrown around the house like a rag doll… Many of us would not even treat inanimate objects in such a manner. Her life was nothing short of a living nightmare and this was in no small part due to Prema’s actions.”

In an earlier story Coconuts covered, it is believed between October 2015 and her death in July 2016, Piang was physically assaulted almost daily by Prema and her daughter (who was her employer) Gaiyathiri Murugayan, 41.

She was also deprived of food and rest, and was further humiliated by having to shower and relieve herself with the door open.

During the last few days of her life, Piang was tied to a window grille at night and slept on the floor in the same room as Prema – who slept on the bed.

The autopsy showed that she had died from brain injury after severe blunt trauma to the neck.

Piang weighed 39kg when she started work for the family in May 2015 but was only 24kg when she died on Jul. 26, 2016.

Daughter facing 30 years in prison

Initially, Prema was facing a murder charge but was later given a discharge not amounting to an acquittal.

She had pleaded guilty earlier to 47 charges of voluntarily causing harm to the domestic worker and one charge of attempting to voluntarily cause harm.

On top of that Prema is claiming trial to one charge of causing evidence to disappear.

Prema’s daughter Gaiyathiri, a housewife and former wife of a cop was sentenced to 30 years of prison on Jun. 22, 2021.

“Loving grandmother”

Prema’s lawyer Rai Satish of Kalidass Law Corporation was seeking 10 years’ jail for his client and claimed she had abused Piang after hearing her daughter’s complaints about their domestic worker.

He brought up the times of when his client offered the victim food. On top of that he also put out that his client was a loving grandmother and the long sentence would deprive her time with her grandchildren.

Still pending: former cop’s charges

However, former cop and Gaiyathiri’s former husband Kevin Chelvam’s case is still pending before the courts.

The couple finalised their divorce in 2020.

He has been suspended from service since 2016 and also faces multiple charges in relation to the abuse.

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