An Indonesian domestic worker accused of murdering her employer by stabbing him more almost 100 times told the Singapore High Court on Tuesday that she couldn't control her hands "which kept stabbing." Daryati, 28, also said that she had been repeatedly raped by her older brother in her teenage years.
However, Daryati defended herself by telling the court that she didn't intend to kill her employer but only wanted to injure and scare her as she was suffering for years and was unable to escape their torture. The incident which occurred four years ago had created quite a sensation at that time and is still talked about as one of the most brutal murders in Singapore in recent years. Daryati also told the court that while working she had relationship with two women.
Daryati, who said she was two years younger than her official age of 28, was taking the stand for the first time as her murder trial resumed. She was initially facing the mandatory death penalty for murder, under Sinagpor's criminal law for repeatedly slashing the face, scalp and neck of Seow Kim Choo, 59, at her Telok Kurau house on June 7, 2016. A second charge of attempting to murder Seow's husband, Ong Thiam Soon, who broke into the toilet when he heard the commotion, was stood down for the time being.
According to media reports, she had stabbed Choo more than 90 times. During her court appearance she said that she couldn't control her hands and kept on stabbing her employer. In April this year, after 17 days of trial, prosecutors reduced the charge to murder and pressed for life imprisonment and said that they were not pressing for capital punishment.
Twist in the Tale
Daryati initially admitted to the reduced charge and was convicted on the evidence produced during the trial. However, in a major twist last month the conviction was quashed after Daryati withdrew her guilty plea in the hope of getting a lower sentence by relying on psychiatric evidence.
During her court appearance on Tuesday she told the judge that she was desperate to return home just two months after joining work at Choo's house, as she was unable to contact her family. But Choo didn't allow her to go home which would make Daryati "angry" at her employer. Daryati also told the court that she continues to be affected by the incidents and is receiving psychiatric treatment in prison.
However, during her trial, she kept maintaining that she did not intend to kill her employer in the Telok Kurau house and had wanted only to retrieve her passport, which was in a locked safe only Choo and her husband had the keys to.
She also said that she was homesick and was longing for her lover in Hong Kong, and said she never wanted to come to Singapore to work, but had to because of her parents.
What Exactly Had Happened?
Police investigations reveal that Daryati had pre-planned the murder. She had hid weapons around the house, including a knife in a wardrobe area, a hammer next to a study table and a short knife in a basket under the sink of the master bedroom toilet.
Daryati has initially shared the plan with another of the domestic workers but didn't tell when and how she planned to attack Choo.
On June 17, 2016, Daryati diverted Choo's husband's Ong Thiam's attention so that he could go downstairs. She then entered the master bedroom to attack Choo with a long knife. First, she pointed the knife at her employer and asked her for the passport as she wanted to go back to Indonesia.
Choo got furious when Daryati tried to drag her to the safe where the passport was but fearing that her husband would be alerted, she pulled Choo toward the bathroom. Inside the bathroom, she first slit Choo's neck and scarred her face before stabbing her nearly 100 times.
When prosecutors asked why she didn't run away and instead kept stabbing Choo, Daryati said, "I was indeed stabbing Madam (many) times because I couldn't control my hands."