Maid climbed out of 15th-storey balcony to flee abusive employer

Nuur Audadi Yusoff pleaded guilty to six counts of assault yesterday. She was accused of abusing her maid repeatedly in 2018.
Nuur Audadi Yusoff pleaded guilty to six counts of assault yesterday. She was accused of abusing her maid repeatedly in 2018.ST PHOTO: WONG KWAI CHOW

A woman repeatedly abused her family's domestic helper between January and April 2018 by acts such as slapping the woman's face and pulling her hair.

Unable to tolerate any more abuse from Nuur Audadi Yusoff, the Indonesian maid, Ms Sulis Setyowati, 24, climbed out of the 15th-storey flat's balcony and made her way down to the ground floor of the block in Yishun.

At the time of the offences, Nuur was a Singtel employee deployed to support a Ministry of Manpower (MOM) contact centre.

The 31-year-old Singaporean pleaded guilty yesterday to six counts of assault.

Ms Sulis began working for Nuur on Dec 1, 2017, and was paid $580 a month. Some time after midnight the following month, Nuur was awakened by her daughter's cries and found that Ms Sulis had forgotten to apply ointment on the child's stomach.

Enraged, Nuur spat at the maid and slapped her face twice. The abuse continued in February 2018 with acts such as dragging the maid by her hair.

When Ms Sulis asked for a transfer, Nuur promised not to hit her again and the younger woman continued working there as she needed to send money home to support her child.

But Nuur went back to her old ways just 10 days later when she scrolled through Ms Sulis' mobile phone and found that the maid had uploaded pictures of Nuur's children on Facebook.

Deputy Public Prosecutor Chong Kee En said: "The accused was upset at the photos. She was angry and slapped the victim on her face with the phone and with her hand several times before throwing the phone to the ground causing it to crack."

The court heard that Nuur confiscated the device and assaulted the maid almost daily for about a week after this.

On April 29 that year, Ms Sulis managed to retrieve her mobile phone and hid it as she wanted to call her agency to ask for a transfer.

When Nuur realised that the phone was missing, she confronted the maid, who denied taking it. She then assaulted the maid.

Ms Sulis was sitting on the floor the next day when Nuur pulled her hair and kicked her head a few times before leaving for work.

When Nuur returned home that evening, she called Ms Sulis a "prostitute". Nuur later used a broom to repeatedly strike the maid's head and back.

Ms Sulis decided to run away at around 2am the next day and escaped through the balcony as the front door was locked.

Nuur's bail was set at $10,000 yesterday and she will be sentenced on Nov 18.

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on September 29, 2020, with the headline 'Maid climbed out of 15th-storey balcony to flee abusive employer'. Print Edition | Subscribe