Woman jailed 16 months for causing colleague's blindness with stiletto attack

Nigel Chin
(Photo: Getty Images)

A woman who kicked a colleague in the face multiple times while wearing stiletto heels and caused her left eyeball to pop out was jailed 16 months on Friday (10 November).

Siti Zahara Abdul Karim, 28, pleaded guilty in the State Courts last month on one charge of causing grievous hurt through her act.

During sentencing, District Judge Matthew Joseph also ordered Siti to pay a compensation of $5,922.80 to the 31-year-old victim, Nur Lena Rahmat, for her medical fees.

According to court documents, Siti and Lena were part-time hostesses at Club One KTV Boutique at Jalan Sultan.

Both had a strained working relationship prior to the incident. Siti’s younger sister was in a relationship with Lena’s friend, who wanted to continue paying for the sister’s braces. However, Lena urged her friend not to do so, and both Siti and Lena had gotten into a dispute over this matter.

On 8 October 2015, the day of the incident, both Lena and Siti started an argument over the matter while working, which escalated into a scuffle. Both women fell to the ground, and had to be separated by two female patrons in the club.

But Siti continued kicking Lena, who felt the stiletto hit her eye region about three times. During the last attack, Siti’s 14.5cm stiletto caused Lena’s left eyeball to pop out.

Lena was heard exclaiming “I cannot see, I cannot see”, and when others came to her aid, Siti left the scene.

A subsequent hospital report from Tan Tock Seng Hospital, where Lena was conveyed to, said she suffers permanent blindness in her left eye and has partial vision in her right eye. Lena “can only see the nasal part of her visual field”, according to the report.

The prosecution asked for at least 16 months’ jail. Deputy Public Prosecutor Sarah Shi said in her sentencing submissions that Siti had behaved extremely aggressively and the injuries were serious.

Lena now has to wear a fake eye in place of her left eye, and her injuries would affect her daily functionality as well as the kind of jobs she can take up, DPP Shi said.

Siti’s pro bono lawyer, Wilbur Lim, said in the mitigation plea submitted to court on behalf of Siti that she is a caring mother of three young children – aged seven, six and three. The children’s father was previously in prison until 7 October this year, and Siti was the sole caregiver and breadwinner of the family.

Lim added that Siti had turned over a new leaf for the sake of her children and left her job at the KTV. There was also no premeditation on Siti’s part.

While Lim said that she is remorseful for the harm she had caused to Lena, DJ Joseph said that he is “not quite sure” if Siti is remorseful over her crimes.

He added, “It is almost beyond belief a simple stiletto can inflict such injuries. These injuries must be considered as an aggravating factor. You’ve turned a simple fashion accessory into a lethal weapon…it is astonishing and incomprehensible.

“This is not a laughing matter… it must have been a gruesome scene for those who witnessed it. Your guilty plea is the only thing you have going in your favour.”

Siti was given two weeks to raise funds for the compensation, failing which she will need to serve an extra two weeks in jail. She will begin to serve her sentence on 23 November, and is currently out on $10,000 bail.

For her offence, Siti could have been jailed for up to four years, or fined a maximum $10,000, or both.