Maid 'likely chose to end her life' after attacking employer

Maid 'likely chose to end her life' after attacking employer
DEATH FALL: Maid Palwinder Kaur fell to her death at the Aquarius by the Park condominium in January.
PHOTO: Shin Min Daily

She was sent back to her agency after stealing money from her employer.

Maid Palwinder Kaur, 25, an Indian national, had also used a mobile phone belonging to her employer's teenage son without permission to make international calls.

Yesterday, in a coroner's inquiry into Ms Palwinder Kaur's death, the court heard that Mrs Divya Bhardwaj, 38, and her husband, Mr Shekhrendhu Bhardwaj, 44, decided to give the maid a second chance and re-employ her.

But she abused their trust again and assaulted Mrs Bhardwaj with a hammer on Jan 19.

Shortly after the attack, Ms Palwinder Kaur fell to her death from her employer's 14th-storey apartment at Block 3 of the Aquarius by the Park condominium at Bedok Reservoir Road.

Investigation officer Senior Station Inspector (SSI) Hamidi Dirin told the court that Ms Palwinder Kaur "most likely chose to end her life" while waiting for the police to arrive that day.

The court heard that Mrs Bhardwaj approached Charisha Employment Agency for a maid on Oct 30 last year and Ms Palwinder Kaur started working for the family 19 days later.

SSI Hamidi told State Coroner Marvin Bay that the maid was tasked to keep an eye on her employer's children - two boys aged nine and 16 - and perform housework.

On Dec 16 last year, Mrs Bhardwaj discovered that she was missing $270 and suspected the maid might have stolen it.

Five days later, Mr Bhardwaj asked the maid about calls made to India on his older son's phone. She admitted after he showed her a bill which displayed her home number in India.

Later that day, she also confessed to the Bhardwajs that she had stolen the money.

She was sent back to her agency on Dec 22 last year. But three days later, its director, Ms Narinderit Kaur, 49, called Mr Bhardwaj, asking him to consider taking the maid back as she was "very remorseful". The couple decided to give her a second chance and re-employed her.

On Jan 18, Mr Bhardwaj discovered an additional mobile phone bill showing 17 calls to India.

CONFRONTED

When confronted, Ms Palwinder Kaur pleaded with him not to tell Ms Narinderit Kaur about it. He flew off to Surabaya, Indonesia, later that day.

At around 7.45am the next day, Mrs Bhardwaj was alone at home with Ms Palwinder Kaur when the maid told her not to tell Ms Narinderit Kaur about the additional phone bill.

Mrs Bhardwaj told her that they would discuss the matter when her husband returned on Jan 24.

She was doing her work at a dining table after this when she suddenly felt a hard blow on her head from behind.

SSI Hamidi said: "She also heard (the maid) say in an aggressive tone 'Will you inform the agent? Will you inform my family? I will teach you'."

The two women struggled and that was when Mrs Bhardwaj spotted the hammer. She shouted for help and her neighbour, Mr Rajagopal Arvin, 45, who lives on the 15th storey, heard her cries and rushed downstairs to the Bhardwajs' apartment.

When Mrs Bhardwaj opened the door, he saw her standing in the doorway with blood all over her face. She told him that her maid had tried to kill her.

Mr Rajagopal informed the police about the incident. He later overheard the security guard saying that the maid had jumped down, said SSI Hamidi.

The police arrived at the scene at around 8.04am and a paramedic from the Singapore Civil Defence Force pronounced Ms Palwinder Kaur dead about 30 minutes later.

Mrs Bhardwaj suffered head injuries and an ambulance took her to Changi General Hospital.

The court heard that investigations are not complete, pending a report from the Health Sciences Authority. The case has been adjourned to a later date.

ashaffiq@sph.com.sg


This article was first published on July 16, 2015.
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